California laws limit on how much your landlord can charge you for a security deposit—but it depends on whether or not the place comes furnished. For unfurnished rentals, the cap is two times the monthly rent. For furnished rentals, the cap increases to three times the rent. This applies across the state, from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Although that’s higher than places like New York or D.C., California is pretty strict about other fees you might be charged during the rental application process. Any payments you make during this time (besides the application fee) are considered part of the security deposit—even if they’re labeled something different, like an “administrative fee” or a “pet fee.”
Double-check that all the payments you’re being asked to make before you sign the lease don’t add up to more than two (or three) months’ rent. If your potential landlord is requiring you to put down two months’ security deposit for an unfurnished apartment—and then asking for an additional $300 pet deposit—that’s not allowed.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.
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