Can My Landlord Ask for Additional Security Deposit?

Here, we take a look into the circumstances under which a landlord can legally request an additional security deposit, highlighting the role of state-specific laws and tenant rights in such scenarios. We provide an insightful overview of how changes in rental conditions, property modifications, or adjustments in lease terms can prompt landlords to seek extra security deposits, ensuring that tenants are equipped with the knowledge to handle these requests appropriately.

Gemma Smith
Last Updated
April 19, 2024
Can My Landlord Ask for Additional Security Deposit?

When you sign a lease, the security deposit you pay is one of the key protections for your landlord against potential damage or losses that might occur during your tenancy. However, as circumstances change, whether due to changes in rental laws, property modifications, or lease term adjustments, tenants often face this question: Can my landlord legally request an additional security deposit?

This article addresses this question by exploring the legal framework surrounding security deposits. We'll discuss the conditions under which a landlord might request additional funds and examine the statutory guidelines that dictate such requests.

By understanding the intersection of state laws, tenant rights, and landlord responsibilities, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to navigate these financial requests and ensure that any additional deposit aligns with legal standards and fair practices.

Understanding security deposits

Before addressing the main question, let’s explore the basics of security deposits.

Security deposits function as a key safeguard for rental property owners, providing them with financial protection against potential damage or loss inflicted by tenants on the rental property. These funds act as a buffer to absorb costs arising from such issues.

State laws and security deposit limits

Security deposits, commonly included in tenancy agreements, are governed by strict guidelines. The ceiling on the amount of security deposits is largely determined by state-specific legislation.

In places like California, explicit statutory requirements dictate how much landlords can charge, how they must reimburse deposits, and whether they must provide a detailed list of any deductions once a tenant moves out.

Additionally, in some states, like Illinois, landlords are required to keep these deposits in an interest-bearing account and may be obligated to pay interest to the tenants, reflecting the legal nuances surrounding security deposits across different jurisdictions.

Proper documentation and legal compliance

Proper documentation of the security deposit is crucial for both parties. Landlords should provide receipts for the deposit and maintain detailed records of the property's condition both at move-in and move-out.

This documentation is essential for resolving any disputes over damages and to make sure tenants’ deposits are rightfully returned.

Consequences of non-compliance

Failure to adhere to state laws regarding security deposits can lead to significant legal consequences for landlords, including penalties and, in some cases, being required to pay double the original deposit amount back to the tenant.

Both landlords and tenants should stay informed about changes in legislation related to security deposits. State and security deposit laws can evolve, and staying updated can help both parties ensure they’re complying with the latest legal requirements.

A landlord's right to request additional security deposit

When managing or living in a rental property, understanding the conditions under which a landlord can request an additional security deposit is important. This varies by jurisdiction, with specific state laws providing guidelines to ensure that both landlords and tenants are treated fairly. 

Let's take a closer look at Oregon as an example:

Security deposit increases in Oregon

In Oregon, the law is particularly clear about when and how a landlord can request an additional security deposit after initiating a tenancy. According to Oregon Revised Statutes Section 90.300, landlords are permitted to request additional security deposits under certain conditions:

  1. After the first year: A landlord can request a new or increased security deposit only after the first year of tenancy has completed.
  2. Modifications to the rental agreement: If the rental agreement is modified at the request of the tenant — for instance, to allow pets or accommodate other changes — the landlord may ask for an additional deposit relevant to those modifications.
  3. Payment period: When an increased or new security deposit is requested after the first year, the landlord must provide the tenant with at least three months to pay the additional amount.

These provisions are designed to protect tenants from unexpected financial burdens during the early stages of their lease and ensure that any requests for additional security deposits are justified and agreed upon in the context of changes to the living arrangement.

Increasing deposits fairly and legally

As we have discussed, rental property owners may find it necessary to adjust a security deposit during the ongoing lease term. This is often in response to significant changes in the lease conditions or to mitigate increased risks, such as the introduction of pets or alterations to the property.

Any increase in security deposits is often calculated based on a month's rent to maintain a proportional balance with rental costs. Landlords must follow lawful protocols when increasing security deposits to maintain fairness and transparency.

Key considerations for increasing deposits

  1. Adherence to statutory limits: Just as with initial security deposits, any increase must not exceed legal limits, typically 2 or 3 times the monthly rent.
  2. Timely and clear communication: Landlords must provide tenants with ample notice of the deposit increase. This notice should clearly state the reasons for the increase and the amount by which the deposit will be raised.
  3. Justifiable reasons for increase: Increases should be directly tied to tangible changes that affect the property or lease terms, such as property modifications, added responsibilities taken on by the tenant, or to cover unpaid rent.
  4. Modification agreements: Any deposit increase should be documented in a lease modification agreement signed by both parties to ensure everyone understands and agrees to the new terms.
  5. Respecting tenant rights: Landlords must respect tenants’ rights throughout this process. This includes adhering to the legal requirements for notification and maximum deposit amounts and keeping increases reasonable and justifiable.

Can a landlord increase your security deposit? Your questions, answered

While a landlord may ask for an additional security deposit under certain circumstances, state laws tightly regulate such requests to maintain fairness and protect tenant rights. Understanding the specific conditions and legal boundaries within your jurisdiction is crucial for landlords and tenants.

This knowledge helps prevent potential disputes and ensures that any increase in security deposits aligns with the legal standards and lease agreement terms. Landlords must adhere to statutory limits, provide clear communication, and have justifiable reasons for any requested increases, all while respecting the rights and financial stability of the tenants.

As a tenant, being informed about these regulations enables you to navigate these requests effectively, ensuring any additional financial burdens are both justified and within your rights under the law.

Can a landlord ask for a second security deposit? FAQs

Do you have to pay another security deposit when renewing your lease in California?

In California, landlords can usually request an additional security deposit upon a new lease or renewal, even if a deposit was previously paid. Key points include:

  • California law permits landlords to ask for an extra security deposit if tenancy conditions change, such as a rent increase.
  • While landlords are not obligated to offer a renewal lease, they can modify lease terms, including the security deposit, during renewal.
  • The total security deposit must not exceed two months’ rent for an unfurnished unit or three months’ rent for a furnished one.
  • If the maximum allowable deposit has already been paid, the landlord cannot request an additional amount upon renewal.
  • Landlords must provide proper notice before increasing the deposit.

It's important to note that the security deposit money is separate from other payments, such as the first month's rent.

What is ordinary wear and tear?

The natural and incremental degradation of a property that occurs through its normal utilization is known as ordinary or normal wear and tear.

Important Note: This post is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be taken as legal, accounting, or tax advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for such services. Always consult your own legal, accounting, or tax counsel before taking any action based on this information.

Gemma Smith

With 7 years in property management, Gemma serves as a key content strategist at While excelling in writing, editing, and SEO, she also enhances Azibo's social media presence. Passionately, Gemma educates others to make informed real estate investment decisions in the ever-changing market.

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