What is a "Security Deposit?"A security deposit is a sum of money given to the landlord to guarantee that any damages incurred during your lease will be covered. The amount of money demanded for the security deposit will differ from building to building.
Do I get it back?You will have the opportunity to get a full refund provided no damage happens to the property that requires the landlord to fix. However, if damages do occur, the landlord may keep some or all of the security deposit.
The deadline for the landlord to give back your security deposit varies from state to state. For a full list of state deadlines, see this chart.
Ordinary Wear and Tear (Landlord's Responsibility) vs. Excessive Damages (Tenant's Responsibility)After living in an apartment, there are various things that can happen that you will not be held responsible for. On the other hand, any abnormal damages will be taken out of your security deposit. Nolo.com has a great chart that shows the difference between "Ordinary Wear and Tear" that is the landlord's responsibility and "Damage or Excessive Filth" that would fall on the tenant.
Here are some examples from their chart:
Bathroom mirror beginning to "de-silver" (black spots)Make-up and lipstick all over bathroom mirror
|Landlord's Responsibility||Tenant's Responsibility|
|Dents in the wall from a door handle||Door off its hinges|
|Moderate dirt on carpet||Rips in carpet or stains from pets|
|Faded paint||Water marks from plants or rain|
Make sure to check out Nolo.com for the full chart!