SECURITY DEPOSITS AND UNPAID RENT
Security deposits are put in place to protect the landlord. This is often also referred to as a bond or a damage deposit and are pretty standard on all lease agreements. How much a renter pays for a security deposit will depend on how much the rent is per month. In general, paying around one month's rent for a security deposit is pretty standard.
Security Deposits for Landlords
One of the things that a security deposit can protect you from is unpaid rent. Because the landlord collects the money right away he has it for emergencies and instances where the rent is not being paid. What this means is that if the rent is not paid for the month, the landlord can cash the security deposit or use this money without violating any rights.
A security deposit is not just there for unpaid rent, however. It is also there in the event of damage to the property. For example, if the tenant is moving out and there are holes in the walls, damaged carpets and a disaster in the kitchen, then the landlord may need to contact a cleaning service company to come in and spend the day taking care of the mess. This money needs to come from somewhere and it will often come from the security deposit.
If the renter has violated any rights and it has been found out, such as painting a wall when this is not allowed or having a pet in the house in a no pet property, then this is also grounds for keeping the security deposit. After all, having the house cleaned after a pet has been in there for a year can cost a lot. And repainting a wall is also going to be expensive.
Security deposits are important but there are some things they cannot be used for. If the plumbing fails you cannot use your renter's money to pay for this. If the washing machine breaks, you cannot use this money to fix it. These are the responsibility of the landlord and the money needs to come out of your own pocket or out of your homeowners insurance. This is not something that the renter is responsible for paying for.
Security Deposits and Renters
As a tenant you need to be aware that paying a security deposit up front is quite standard. You also need to budget for it. The first month will be an expensive one when you are first moving into a house. You need to not only pay the first month's rent in advance but also the security deposit. There may also be a pet deposit in place if you are bringing an animal with you. Furthermore, you might have some connection fees to turn on the internet, the phone and the electricity to name a few.
When you are first moving in you will also have a pretty massive shopping bill in those first weeks as you need to stock up your fridge, pantry and cleaning cupboard. Make sure you budget for at least double the amount on that first month when you are moving in. Hopefully, at the end of the lease, you will get the security deposit back.
Security deposits and unpaid rent go hand in hand but keep in mind that, when you are renting, you are not just responsible for paying the rent on time. You also need to keep the place clean and tidy and obey the rules of the rental agreement. It is only then that you can expect your security deposit back in full.