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A closer look at the purpose and benefit of a security deposit

When landlords and tenants enter into a contractual agreement in North Carolina, they often arrange a security deposit in an agreed-upon amount that will be returned to the renters at the close of the contract if certain terms and conditions are met. A tenant's failure to uphold their end of the deal could mean the landlord is able to keep the deposited amount to help in righting whatever wrongs the tenant committed. 

While some tenants may view security deposits as a nuisance, they can actually be quite beneficial in protecting both parties from being taken advantage of. On the landlord's side, a security deposit gives them a bit of protection. In the event their tenants damage the property, they have a small foundational resource with which to fix those problems. On the tenants' side, a security deposit can guarantee their residence so long as they abide by the terms designated in their contract. 

According to U.S. News, people can prevent the loss of their security deposit upon the close of their contract by making sure they have a clear understanding of the expectations that have been set by their landlord. They may also wish to document the condition of the property before they move in so they can show that the property's condition when they move out is the same as it was when they initially moved in. Other suggestions include being watchful of pets and children, thoroughly cleaning the premises in anticipation of moving out, and clearing any desired modifications with their landlord in writing before completing any projects. 

When identifying an amount for the security deposit, Zillow reminds landlords that it is discriminatory to require higher amounts from families with children, as well as people who have disabilities or pets. Higher rates should also not be charged based on a person's age. In North Carolina, the maximum security deposit for a lease that is a full year or longer is two months' rent.

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