It’s time to write the checks for your new rental apartment — the what and why of a security deposit

When completing the lease on your new Manhattan apartment rental, there’s one check you may have wondered about: the security deposit. You ask, “Why do I need to pay a security deposit?”  The answer is quite clear.

What is a security deposit?

A security deposit is money, aside from rent, that is kept in an escrow account. So along with the first month’s rent, renters need to write a second check for the security deposit, most often in the amount of one month’s rent at the time of signing the lease. In certain cases, the equivalent of 2 months rent may be requested. This added financial cushion allows No Fee Rentals greater flexibility to approve leases for those who may have difficulty renting, such as tenants or guarantors with limited credit history.

Why is a security deposit required?

A security deposit is used in case of damage to the rental apartment or other lease violations. Upon termination of the lease, if no damage has occurred to the apartment – just the normal wear and tear — the entire security deposit is returned plus any accrued interest. However, if there has been damage – let’s say someone makes a large hole in the wall when moving the couch — or leaves behind the couch OR moves out without paying the last month’s rent, money is taken out of the escrow account to cover the rent or cost of repairs; any remaining balance is returned to the renter.

How long does it take to get a security deposit returned?

A security deposit is returned relatively quickly, say 4-6 weeks.

What you can do to ensure your security deposit is returned

Of course, we recommend that you take care of your rental apartment. We also highly recommend that prior to moving in – whether to a picturesque studio near Waverly Place or a multibedroom share on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, that you do a careful walk through and let our building manager know of any pre-existing conditions. Your cellphone camera is perfect for documenting.  And while all apartments are thoroughly cleaned, inspected and painted before a new tenant moves in, No Fee Rentals/Jakobson Properties will take care of any of concerns if given notice prior to move in or within a couple of days thereafter.