The laws about security deposits
for residential rental housing (including mobile homes) are often
misunderstood by both tenants and landlords. This covers the main points
about security deposits and may help you avoid problems with your tenants
or landlord. If you have other questions, please call or email us for more
- A security deposit is any
money paid to a landlord by a tenant to protect the landlord against
unpaid rent or damages to the leased premises.
- Security deposits can
include the last month's rent, if paid at the beginning of the lease.
- Security deposits may
include "pet deposits" and other special deposits against
The security deposit may not be more than two months rent. If a landlord
overcharges, the tenant has up to two years after the lease ends to sue the
landlord for up to three times the extra amount charged, plus attorney's
- The landlord must give a
written receipt for the security deposit. The receipt can be part of a
- The receipt must tell the
tenant that the tenant has a right to receive a written list of
existing damages if the tenant requests this list in writing within 15
days of moving into the property.
- If a landlord does not
provide this list, the tenant can sue the landlord for up to three
times the amount of the security deposit.
and Interest on Deposits
- Security deposits must be
kept in a separate interest-bearing account in Maryland, and deposited within 30
days of receipt.
- Effective January 1, 2015,
simple interest of 1.5% per year, accrued at 6-month intervals, must be
paid on security deposits of $50 or more. (Example: a $100 security
deposit earns $1.50 after 12 months, $2.25 after 18 months, $3 after 24
- If the property is sold or
transferred, the new landlord is responsible for obtaining the deposit
(and any accrued interest) from previous owner and opening a separate
account for the deposit as stated above.
Moving Notice and
- When the tenant pays the
security deposit, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing that
the tenant has the right to be present at landlord's inspection of the
property for damages when the tenant moves out.
- The tenant must notify the
landlord by certified mail at least 15 days before moving of the
tenant's move out date and the tenant's new address.
- The inspection must be
within five days before or five days after the moving date.
Return of Deposits
- Landlords may keep part or
all of a security deposit for unpaid rent or the actual cost of
repairing damage caused by the tenant, tenant's family or guests.
Ordinary wear and tear is not damage.
- Within 45 days after the
tenant moves out, the landlord must send the tenant a written list of
damages and the actual amount spent by the landlord to repair damage
to the property.
- The landlord may not keep
any part of the security deposit unless they notify the tenant of the
- Within 45 days after the
tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit, plus1.5% interest, minus any unpaid rent or cost of damages.
- If the landlord does not
return the security deposit within 45 days, the tenant can sue the
landlord for three times the amount wrongly withheld by the landlord,
plus attorney's fees.
- If a tenant has been
evicted, ejected or has abandoned the property before the lease ends,
the security deposit may be returned when:
- Within 45 days after
moving, the tenant mails the landlord a letter with the tenant's
present address requesting return of the security deposit.
- The landlord has 45 days to
mail the tenant a list of damages and costs.
- The security deposit, less
damages, must be returned within 45 days of receiving the tenant's
No Waiver of Rights No provisions of the security
deposit laws can be waived, either orally or in writing.
- Maximum security deposit
equals two months rent
- Give written receipts for
- Provide tenant with list of
- Keep separate accounts for
- Pay 1.5% simple interest on
- Provide list of damages and
amount to be withheld in 45 days from tenant move out
- Return security deposits
with interest in 45 days from tenant move out
- Provide landlord with list
of existing damages at move in
- Must request damage
inspection in writing with move out notice
- security deposit
Hagerstown Home Store
21 East Franklin Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740
PHONE: (301) 797-0900