Learn the basics about security deposits under state law, and security deposit interest requirements under the Berkeley Rent Ordinance.
Security deposit payments
- A landlord may charge up to two times the rent for unfurnished units, and three times the rent for furnished units
- Last month’s rent IS considered part of the security deposit
- First month’s rent is NOT considered part of the security deposit
Security deposit deductions
A landlord may deduct only the amount that is reasonably necessary to:
- Cover rent default
- Repair damages caused by a tenant or a tenant's guest other than normal wear and tear
- Clean the unit to return it to the same level of cleanliness as at the start of the tenancy (for tenancies beginning after January 1, 2003)
- If allowed by the lease, cover the cost of restoring or replacing personal property (including keys) or furniture, excluding ordinary wear and tear
Move-out walk-through inspection requirement
Under state law, landlords must offer a walk-through inspection during the last two weeks of a tenancy to identify any items that need repair/cleaning. This is to give tenants a chance to correct issues in order to avoid security deposit deductions. Many landlords do not offer this inspection, so we recommend that tenants ask for it. See our Suggestions for Recovering Your Security Deposit page for more tips.
Security deposit interest
For tenancies in units fully or partially covered by Berkeley's Rent Ordinance, landlords must pay tenants interest on their security deposit at the end of each year and a prorated amount if the tenant moves out before the end of the year. See our Security Deposit Interest & Calculator page for more information.