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For Multifamily & Affordable Housing Business: Renter-Friendly Security Deposit Legislation

Author: Kasee Godwin
Date: 10.04.2023

For Multifamily & Affordable Housing Business: Renter-Friendly Security Deposit Legislation Is a Sea Change for Property Managers

Recently, we penned an article for Multifamily & Affordable Housing Business titled “Renter-Friendly Security Deposit Legislation Is a Sea Change for Property Managers.” 

Let’s dive into the highlights and explore how Qira is spearheading change.

In recent years, the rental housing landscape in the United States has been undergoing a significant transformation. With more than a third of Americans choosing to rent their homes, policymakers are responding to the growing demand for transparency, fairness, and affordability in the rental market. One of the most notable changes is the shift in focus towards security deposits, a crucial aspect of property management. 

This article explores the impact of renter-friendly security deposit legislation on property managers, highlighting fundamental changes and offering guidance on adapting.

The Changing Legal Landscape

As of September 2023, several states have implemented or proposed legislation to reduce the financial burden on residents and increase access to affordable housing. Some of the notable changes include:

  1. Texas: Senate Bill 1783, passed in 2021, allows residents to pay fees instead of a security deposit. It establishes management guidelines and prohibits property managers from discriminating against residents based on their choice. Property managers can’t collect damages from residents if they file for insurance coverage.
  2. Florida: House Bill 133, effective July 1, 2023, permits property managers to offer fee-based security deposit alternatives. Residents can switch from paying a fee to a traditional security deposit, and property managers must provide written notification of the fee agreement’s conditions.
  3. Illinois: Senate Bill 1741, set to go into effect on January 1, 2024, extends transparency laws to smaller rental properties and mandates timely provision of itemized damage statements when withholding security deposit funds.
  4. California: Assembly Bill 12 proposes reducing the state’s security deposit cap to one month’s rent. Although this bill doesn’t change the management of deposits, it can impact the amount property managers can collect.

Property managers should be aware that some cities, like Cincinnati, are exploring legislation to forbid traditional security deposits entirely, which could have far-reaching consequences.

Adapting to the Changes

Property managers can take several steps to adapt to this evolving legal landscape:

  • Stay Informed: Regularly monitor local and state laws for any proposed changes to security deposit regulations. Regulations can vary significantly by location, so being up-to-date is crucial.
  • Update Lease Agreements: Review and revise lease agreements to incorporate new security deposit rules. Ensure that the terms are transparent and communicated to residents.
  • Embrace Technology: Invest in property management software that streamlines the security deposit process, from accepting payments to generating itemized deductions and tracking deadlines. Good record-keeping practices are invaluable in case of disputes.
  • Explore Security Deposit Alternatives: Consider security deposit solution services that allow residents to pay a monthly fee instead of a security deposit. This can simplify administrative tasks and reduce legal liabilities for property managers.
  • Educate Staff and Residents: Train property management teams on updated laws to ensure consistent and compliant handling of security deposits. Educate residents about their rights and responsibilities regarding security deposits through transparent communication.
  • Partner with Professionals: Collaborate with legal experts, industry associations, and other professionals well-versed in real estate and rental laws to seek guidance and ensure compliance.

A Path Forward for Property Managers

Renter-friendly legislation regarding security deposits represents a significant shift towards resident protection and fairness in the rental market. Property managers who stay informed and adapt to these changes can build trust, maintain a positive reputation, retain residents, and mitigate potential legal disputes and penalties. In this evolving landscape, proactive measures are essential for the long-term success of property management businesses.

kasee-godwin-80x80

Kasee Godwin

Position: Director of Marketing
Social Networks

Kasee is the Director of Marketing for Qira. She has nearly 15 years of experience in the real estate marketing industry, including 10 years on the client side. In her spare time, she enjoys reading science fiction, exploring new wineries, and fostering Golden Retrievers.

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