This is the fourth article in a mini-series on how to find an apartment in Norwalk (or pretty much anywhere for that matter).
In this fourth article, I will touch base on security deposits, and why they can be different for different landlords.
Why is security deposit required in the first place?
On a fundamental level, a security deposit for a rental is literally the “security” the landlord has that the tenant will continue to pay rent on time and keep the property in good condition. The security deposit acts as the incentive for the tenant to perform their duties required in the lease. Without the security deposit, a tenant wouldn’t be as inclined to keep a property in great condition, and wouldn’t do as good of a job cleaning when they move out.
Why 2 months, rather than 1 month?
Most landlords in Norwalk and in lower Fairfield County charge 2 months for security deposit. That deposit is returned to the tenant, with interest, when they move out (provided the property is left in good condition). They prefer to charge 2 months, because it fundamentally gives them more protection should they have any issues with their tenants.
Think about it… The landlord has to continue to pay his or her bills on a property no matter if they receive rent from the tenant or not. If the tenant doesn’t pay rent one month, the landlord might use some of the security deposit to cover the rent. The security deposit is also there for a landlord to use cover any damages caused by the tenant.
One month for a security deposit frankly doesn’t provide a lot of security for a landlord! If the tenant doesn’t pay rent for just one month, the security deposit is gone! In some cases, the tenant wont pay last months rent (forcing the landlord to use the one month security) and then will leave the rental in poor condition when they move. That means the landlord has to pay for any repairs (cleaning, painting, etc.) out of their own pocket!
It really is just a matter of perspective. If you are a tenant, you want to pay just one month security. It makes sense that you want to keep more of your money in your own bank account. However, if you are a landlord, you definitely want 2 months security deposit! Many of the tenants out there today will eventually be landlords, and once they have some real life experience as a landlord they will definitely require 2 months security.
A common way to set up security deposit and initial rent in this area is “first, last, and one month security.” This means the tenant still comes up with 3 months rent before moving in, just as they would with first months rent + 2 months security. The difference is that this is technically illegal as a landlord is not supposed to collect advanced rent (more than 1 month). Collecting “last” months rent would be considered advanced rent. This is more a case of semantics, however it is still advisable for the landlord to require “2 months security” in the lease.
Want to learn more about security deposits in Connecticut?
Are you looking for an apartment in Norwalk? Check out: http://norwalkrealestatetodd.com/services/renters
Questions about rentals, or have a specific real estate question? Email Todd by visiting: www.NorwalkRealEstateTodd.com