It's estimated that there are roughly 20 million rental properties in the United States. For the landlords and property management companies that run these rentals, security deposits are a vital tool for protecting investments from potential tenant damage.
However, despite their importance, you need to be careful with security deposits. Why? Because there are a variety of laws that you need to follow when issuing and returning them.
If you break these laws, there's a good chance you'll become entrenched in small claims court. That's why we made this landlord advice guide. In it, we'll break down everything that landlords need to know about security deposits in Fairfax, Virginia.
What Are the Security Deposit Laws in Virginia?
There are a lot of important security deposit laws in Virginia, which you can find in the Code of Virginia §55.1-1226. For starters, this law puts a limit on the amount that you can charge for a security deposit.
It states that the maximum you can ask of a tenant is two months' worth of rent. So, your rental income is $900, the most you can charge them would be $1,800.
In the past, you had to store your tenant's security deposit in an interest-earning account. However, after a law change, you can now store it however you'd like.
Once the tenant moves out, there's a list of allowable deductions you can make from the security deposit. These include things like:
- Unpaid rent
- Unpaid utility bills
- Negligent property damage (this does not include normal wear and tear)
- Failure to clear out their debts
- Other charges that might be laid out in the rental agreements
You must itemize these deductions on the security deposit records.
When Do You Need to Return Security Deposits?
Once your tenant moves out, you're on a strict timeline in regards to returning their security deposit.
According to the law, you have exactly forty-five days to return the security deposit. If there are deductions, you must also send them an itemized list of each deduction and its corresponding cost.
How Can Property Management Help You With Security Deposits?
A property management service like PMI of Fairfax handles all of the tiny details related to security deposits. We calculate how much to charge tenants.
Then, when their lease is up, we'll walk through the property to get a sense of any appropriate deductions for the record.
This is important because if you're haphazardly deducting things from your tenant's security deposit, there's a good chance you could be taken to court. A property management company takes this problem away by doing everything by the books.
Need Property Management Services? Contact PMI of Fairfax
We hope this guide helped you learn more about security deposits. We know that keeping track of all the laws surrounding this important rental fee can be a headache.
That's why PMI of Fairfax is here to help. And it's not just security deposits that we can assist you with.
From marketing to rent collection, we can help you with every aspect of running a rental property. So if you're ready for the help that you deserve, contact us today.