Rent Charge

Security Deposit Basics

Deposits are amounts of money that a tenant gives to the landlord with the understanding that the money will be returned at the end of the tenancy, as long as the tenant has paid the landlord all the money the tenant owes, and the tenant has not caused damage to the home.

The most common deposit a landlord may require is a security deposit. Security deposits protect the landlord if the tenant fails to pay the rent or causes damage to the rental premises beyond ordinary wear and tear. Your landlord cannot charge you for normal wear and tear. In Oregon there is no minimum or maximum amount your landlord can charge for the security deposit. A landlord is required to provide a tenant with a receipt for the security deposit. Your landlord does not have to pay you the interest earned on your security deposit.

You should carefully inspect and document the condition of the rental unit before moving in, and again before moving out. Photographs and witnesses can be helpful in settling disputes later on.


Can the landlord increase the amount of my deposit?

During the first year of the tenancy, your landlord may not require you to pay a new or increased security deposit unless you and the landlord agree to modify the terms of the lease; in that case the additional security deposit must relate to that modification. For example, if you want a pet and your landlord agrees to let you have a pet in the unit, he or she has the right to increase your deposit. Without such a modification to the lease, if your landlord requires you to pay an additional security deposit after you have been in the rental premises for a year or more, you have at least three months to pay the increase.