Is this legal to ask for the first months rent plus a double security?

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Is this legal to ask for the first months rent plus a double security?

Ive been waiting to hear back on an apartment and just got the call. At first they told me that if I gave them all the paperwork plus first month rent and a security deposit for the equal amount I’d get it. Now they want me to give them a double security deposit on top of the first months rent, is that legal?

Asked on July 21, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Apparently it is legal. In California, a security deposit for residential property unfurnished, the security deposit may equal 2 times the rent.  If  furnished, the landlord may charge up to 3 times the rent.

In California, there is no such thing as a "non-refundable" security deposit. No matter what it’s called—a key deposit, cleaning fee, move-in fee, closing costs, last month’s rent, etc.—all money you pay in addition to your first month’s rent is refundable. Since "nonrefundable" deposits are illegal, don’t worry if your rental agreement includes a section about a "nonrefundable" deposit. This section will not be valid even if you have signed the rental contract or agreed to it. Seems to me to be a bit high but I guess that landlords are indeed getting the amounts allowed by law.


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