Deposits and Fees

When you are going through the process of renting a house or apartment, you will encounter lots of deposits and fees to be paid, each with their own set of rules associated with them. We have summarized six common ones below:


Application/Screening Fee

This is a fee that the landlord uses to order a background check on you. The landlord CANNOT charge any more than the background check costs, AND if they decide to deny you the rental based on something that they learned through the background check, they have to inform you in writing what it was.


Holding Fee

This is a fee that the landlord charges to hold the unit for you until you sign the lease. If you don’t end up renting that unit, the landlord can keep the full holding fee, but if you do end up renting it, the fee has to be applied to the security deposit or first month’s rent.


Security Deposit

This is a deposit charged by the landlord that is used to cover any unpaid rent or damages. Your landlord CANNOT use your security deposit for wear-and-tear damages (ex: dingy paint, worn carpet), and they have 14 days after you move out to either put the full deposit in the mail or give you a statement saying what they used it for.


Damage Deposit

This is essentially the same thing as a security deposit, except the landlord can only use it to cover damages that you or a guest causes. The landlord cannot use it to cover unpaid rent, and the landlord has only 14 days after you move out to either put the full deposit in the mail or give you a statement saying what they used it for.


Cleaning Fee

A fee that the landlord collects from the tenant to pay for cleaning after the tenant has left. This fee is often non-refundable.


Last Month’s Rent Paid in Advance

This is exactly what it sounds like. It can only be used for the agreed-upon last month of the lease’s rent, so if you move out early it must be refunded.



If you think your landlord or property manager kept your deposit wrongfully,
contact the AS Legal Information Center for assistance.


Want to learn more? Check out our Security Deposit Infographic below.

Want to print or save this infographic? Download our 8.5"x11" version HERE

Security Deposit Infographic
Page Updated 03.28.2014