As a landlord, your primary concern is protecting your property from potential issues following the termination of tenancy. One of the measures for doing so includes charging your tenant's a security deposit for them to move into your rental property.
So, what exactly is a security deposit? What should you charge your tenants? How do you need to store the deposit while your tenants live on your property?
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about rental security deposits as a landlord in Oklahoma.
What Is a Security Deposit?
A security deposit is a fixed dollar amount collected by the landlord or property manager before allowing tenants to move into your rental property. The deposit helps to create a safety net for making repairs at the end of the tenancy. Security deposits are refundable as long as the tenant didn't damage the property and paid all of the rent and utilities.
How Much Should Your Security Deposit Be?
While the security deposit is generally an entire month's rent, some things might increase the rate, including:
- The results from the tenant background screening
- Coverage for property amenities (i.e., furniture, appliances, etc)
- Fees for pets on the property
In Oklahoma, there is no cap on a maximum security deposit amount. This means that you can use your own discretion to determine what you will charge for a security deposit.
How Should You Manage Rental Security Deposits?
Oklahoma landlords are required to store their tenants' rental security deposits in an escrow account. The account has to be located in Oklahoma, but protected on a federal level.
You cannot use a rental security deposit for personal use. According to Oklahoma statutes, misappropriation of these funds can result in a fine of twice the amount of the deposit and/or a maximum of six months in jail.
When Can You Keep the Security Deposit?
Sometimes, the landlord will feel rightfully obligated to keep part or all of the security deposit. One of the most common reasons for keeping the tenant's security deposit is when the tenant failed to pay the rent or the unit's utilities. These funds will then go toward paying the unpaid rent and utilities.
Other reasons for keeping a security deposit on a rental include:
- Damage to the property (beyond normal wear and tear)
- Cleaning costs and property removal
- Lease agreement violations
Tenants can request a security deposit refund for up to six months following the lease agreement termination. Once the tenant requests the money, the landlord has 45 days to honor the request. If you don't receive a request for a refund, you can keep the deposit.
Hiring a Property Management Company Can Help
There can be a lot to learn when it comes to collecting and maintaining rental security deposits in Oklahoma. By hiring a property manager, you can simplify the entire process and make it so much easier to handle all of your rental property tasks!
Contact HomeRiver Group Oklahoma City today for all of your property management needs.