Security Deposit & Move-In Fees Explained - Brixbid

Renting a home can become a confusing endeavor. From comparing amenities to calculating commute time, there are a lot of factors that go into finding the perfect place.

One of the confusing aspects of shopping for studio apartments for rent in Chicago can be the lingo associated with security deposits and move in fees. So what really is the difference and what can you expect with both options?

Security Deposit

A security deposit is a sum of money paid to the landlord of a rented property at the beginning of the rental agreement. This money remains the property of the tenant even though it is in the possession of the landlord. Assuming the tenant hasn’t caused any severe damage to the rental unit or improperly withheld rent payments, the security deposit is returned to the tenant at the end of the lease.

Move-In Fees

Unlike security deposits, move-in fees become the property of the landlord as soon as the money changes hands. Even if the tenant moves out without causing any damage to the property, they will not see any of that money again.

How They Affect You

It’s important to pay attention to how these requirements could affect you as each is optional and every apartment will have a unique set of requirements.

The return of the security deposit at the end of the lease term makes this a more desirable option for most renters. Security deposits are also regulated by Illinois state law and landlords have certain restrictions on how they return security deposits and how that money can be handled while in the care of the landlord.

Move-in fees are completely unregulated under Illinois law, but landlords must be very careful to ensure the tenant understands the fees are nonrefundable. You should also keep in mind that any excessive damage that you do to the apartment during your lease could be charged to you at the end of the rental period according to the terms of the lease agreement.

What To Expect

When it comes to studio apartments for rent you will very rarely find landlords charging both a security deposit and a move-in fee. The old standard of a security deposit is still the most popular option with more than half of all apartment listings favoring this option. You should expect between 1 and 2 months of the normal rent amount to be charged as a security deposit in most cases.

While move-in fees aren’t as popular as the security deposit, they are becoming more common in the rental market. These fees can look attractive at first as they are usually no more than half of a month’s rent, but it’s important to keep in mind that they will NOT be refunded to you and you will never see that money again.

Make sure to keep an eye out for security deposits and move-in fees when searching available rental listings. While it can be slightly confusing, having the basic knowledge of what to expect can make the process much easier and will help you make the most informed decision possible.