Yesterday the Department Of Consumer Protection sent this out to the Realtors in Connecticut:
The Astonishing Truth About Security Deposits
The most frequently asked questions so far this year have been about security deposits. Many of you assume you know what the law is on security deposits, but because we have had so many calls about security deposits, we thought we’d clear up any misunderstandings.
Landlords frequently tell their listing agents they want their tenants to pay first month’s rent, last month’s rent, two months’ security deposit and a pet deposit, all at the beginning of a lease.
If that’s what your landlord thinks is legally correct, he is wrong. If that’s what you think is legally correct, you are wrong, too.
There’s actually a Connecticut statute that is just about security deposits. CGS §47a-21.
“Security deposit” is a defined term. It is “any advance rental payment other than first month’s rent and a deposit for a key or special equipment”. That’s any advance rental payment other than first month’s rent for a key or special equipment.
Notice there is no mention of a “pet deposit”.
Notice there’s no mention of “last month’s rent”.
First month’s rent is okay.
If the tenant is giving the landlord money that is not for the first month’s rent or a deposit for a key or special equipment, it is considered security deposit.
The statute tells us how much security deposit is allowed:
If a tenant is under 62 years of age, the landlord may take an amount equal to two months’ rent.
If a tenant is 62 years of age or older, the landlord may take only one month’s rent.
Adding it all up, the most a landlord can take up front is:
first month’s rent,
two month’s rent as security deposit, and
a deposit for a key or special equipment.
That’s it. That’s all.
No pet deposit. No last month’s rent.
The landlord is required to deposit the security deposit money into an escrow account where it should remain until the tenancy ends when the landlord can use it to offset any damage to the premises caused by the tenant.
To read CAR’s Q&A on Security Deposits, go to www.ctrealtor.com, click on Legal/Forms, click on Q&As, scroll down the alphabetical list to Q & A on Security Deposits.
So if you have been asked to provide anything more than what is allowed above, contact the Department of Consumer Protection.