Understand the Rental Security Deposit for Your New Apartment in Houston
All About Deposits
There are three main types of deposits involved in renting an apartment:
- Apartment security deposit
- Application deposits
- Pet or Animal deposits
Rental Security Deposit
An apartment security deposit is money you pay in advance to offset the cost of any damages to your new apartment in Houston while you are living there.
What can be deducted from your rental deposit?
- Any charge specified in the apartment lease agreement or any charge resulting from your breaking the lease.
- Charges for damages, wear and tear resulting from negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse on your part. "Normal wear and tear" items cannot be deducted.
- Unpaid rent and other unpaid charges listed in your apartment lease, such as those for late rent payment, returned checks, missing furniture or fixtures, keys you don't return to the apartment manager, etc.
- The reasonable cost of cleaning if you fail to properly clean your apartment before you leave. Many rental properties have written cleaning instructions for you to follow.
Any deductions to the rental deposit must be listed in a written description and itemization mailed to you on or before 30 days after you leave. However, there is no obligation that you be furnished this information if you have not paid all of your rent or if you have not given your forwarding address to your new home in writing.
An application deposit is money you may be asked to pay in advance at the time you complete an apartment rental application. This deposit may be applied toward your security deposit if your application is approved. If your application is not approved, the deposit is refundable in most cases. However, depending on the application you fill out, the deposit may not be refunded if you are accepted but decide not to move in, you fail to tell the truth on your application, or for certain other reasons.
How will you know if your application has been accepted?
Usually, the rental property will notify you once you've been approved.
If you have not heard from the apartment complex at the end of seven days after you've completed your rental application and given the rental property an application deposit, you can legally assume you've been rejected and you are entitled to a refund of any application deposit. The seven-day timeframe is spelled out in state law. If the seventh day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the rental property owner has until the end of the next business day to notify you of acceptance.
A pet deposit (sometimes called a “animal deposit”) is additional money you are asked to pay in advance to offset any damages caused by an animal during the time you are renting your Houston apartment. It's basically an additional security deposit. A portion of the pet deposit may be non-refundable and used to pay for de-fleaing and cleaning your apartment.