Losing Out: Understanding the Security Deposit


Moving into a new place can be a downer, especially if it requires you to fork over everything you have in your checking account plus three quarters of what you have saved up over the past several months just to have the privilege of crossing the threshold. The reality is, a security deposit can make or break what you will have left over, even if you have budgeted carefully.


When it comes to living in Spokane, however, you can find a number of options for what is required for a security deposit upon move-in. This blog post is chock full of tips and tells you what you need to know about security deposits in general, as well as what you can expect to find in searching for a rental in Spokane.


What A Security Deposit is For and What you Will Find in Spokane

In basic terms, a security deposit is an additional fee that protects the landlord in the event that you move out unexpectedly. Each part of the country is slightly different, but in and around the city of Spokane, you can find both month-to-month and fixed-term leases. When dealing with month-to-month leases, tenants must give 30 days’ notice upon moving out or they risk forfeiting the security deposit. On the other hand, for fixed-term leases, the tenant must reside in the property until the end of the term or find someone to take over the commitment, a process commonly referred to as a sublease.

However, it is not only a simple matter of just living there for the designated term. Landlords and rental companies deduct from the security deposit if you are determined to have incurred damage to the rented property or if you do not return the property to its original state of cleanliness or integrity upon move out. When you move in, tell your landlord or building manager right away if you notice any damage that was already there upon move-in and be sure to notify him or her whenever you notice something over the course of living there. A tip that proves vitally important – be sure to document everything in writing to not only protect yourself financially, but also legally.


Managing the Cost of a Security Deposit

Security deposits are a one-time additional fee apart from the first month’s rent and, on the lease, the fee is most often listed separately. It is costly to plan to have a month’s rent plus potentially another two when you move into a new place, especially in Spokane, where security deposits can range anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a full month’s rent. As a result, it is more common for apartment buildings in Spokane to offer “deals” with a low security deposit if you are willing to sign a long-term lease.


Landlords renting their private property, on the other hand, will typically require the equivalent of a month’s rent up front and a long-term commitment. This rental market is typically more unstable and it will cost an individual landlord more time and money to pursue legal action, which is why the terms of rental tend to be more fixed. If you are looking for a cheaper move-in option, search for apartment units in buildings that are owned by a large company rather than a private landlord with a smaller number of properties. The areas of Thorpe, Broadmoor, University District, and Cliff/Cannon are good affordable places to look and the buildings vary in terms of lease term and their security deposit fees.


Spokane accommodates the lifestyles and incomes of a younger crowd, especially those who are just starting off. You do not have to be cornered into signing a long-term lease that requires a hefty deposit up front – good news for you if you want to find exactly the right place. Hopefully, this blog has introduced you to some of the basics, so please share with us with some of your own experiences, tips, or questions in the comments below!


Image Credit(s): Image(s) by 401k_2013. Presented from Flickr.com under the Creative Commons License. For licensing info visit CreativeCommons.org. In no way should the information presented herein be considered endorsed by the artist(s), Flickr, or CreativeCommons.org.

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Jennifer is in her first year with MyNewPlace.  She is excited to be a writer for the company while she finishes her Ph.D. in Anthropology, which she expects to receive from American University this May. ...