Legal Q&A: How much can we require as a security deposit?


Question: What are we allowed, by law, to charge a tenant as a security deposit?

Answer: You are allowed to charge up to twice the amount of the monthly rent as a security deposit, so if the rent is $1,000, you can charge up to $2,000 for your deposit. If the property is furnished, you can charge three times the amount of the rent.

Ted Kimball Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Ted Kimball
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Question: We have added a number of clauses to our Rules & Regulations Addendum and wish to have our tenants sign the new form, as well as signing the CAA addendum about mold.

Answer: If you are on a month-to-month tenancy, you can unilaterally require they abide by the new terms by properly serving a 30-day Notice of Change of Terms of Tenancy and attaching the mold addendum to it. If they are on a fixed term lease, you must wait until the lease expires for them to renew and sign a new lease with the mold language contained therein.

Question: After I have been granted a default judgment from the court in an unlawful detainer case, is there anything I can do to speed the tenant’s vacating the unit? Can I call early in the morning? Can I bang on the windows? If I do any of the above, what is my legal liability? Do I have to wait for the sheriff? Hints would be appreciated.

Answer: You have to wait for the sheriff; any form of self help could get you into legal trouble as technically you are trespassing until the sheriff gives you back your property.

Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, please visit our website: For past Legal Alerts, Questions & Answers, and Legal Articles, please consult the resource library section of our website.

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