• Marie-Yves Nadine Jean-Baptiste

Security Deposit Tips from Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

The most money that a landlord may charge as a security deposit for each unit is two month’s rent. If the landlord charges more than this, the tenant may get back up to three times the extra amount charged, plus reasonable attorney’s fees. The tenant’s lawsuit to get back this amount may be brought at any time during the rental period or within two years after the end of the rental period.

Requirements of Section 8-203

  1. The security deposit must be less than two times the rent.

  2. A receipt must be included in the lease.

  3. The security deposit can only be withheld for unpaid rent and excess damage above ordinary wear and tear.

  4. The security deposit must be returned 45 days after the end of tenancy.

  5. If the end of tenancy is standard (not an eviction or abandonment), the deposit is interest earning. §8-203(e)(1-2-3)

  6. If the security deposit is unreasonably withheld, the tenant can ask for treble damages. Rohrbaugh v. Estate of Stern, 305 Md. 443 (1986).

  7. Treble damages & fees are discretionary. Golt v. Phillips, 308 Md. 1 (1986).”

For help with Security Deposit matters, reach out to MVLS at:


201 North Charles Street Suite 1400 Baltimore, MD 21201 (410) 539-6800 (admin) (443) 451-4081 (fax)

Intake Mon-Thurs 9 am to 12 pm (410) 547-6537 or (800) 510-0050

REPOST AND CREDIT TO: Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (https://mvlslaw.org/)


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