Legislators work to create new options for security deposits

Cash security deposits, on top of high rents in most cities, make it difficult for many people to find affordable places to live.

State and city lawmakers are working to eliminate the requirement that renters pay the deposits, which can be as much as one to two months’ rent, up front. The bills would require that landlords accept installment payments over time or insurance that would protect against damages to the rental.

Legislators say many people who could afford monthly rent can’t secure a rental because they don’t have enough savings to pay the security deposit in cash.

A law in Cincinnati now mandates that landlords accept payment plans or insurance in lieu of a cash security deposit upfront, and a new law in New York State limits security deposits to no more than one month’s rent.

A law that would provide new options for paying security deposits has been proposed in Virginia, and lawmakers in Alabama, Connecticut and New Hampshire are planning to introduce similar ones.

Many landlords oppose the bills, arguing that cash security deposits are the best way to protect themselves and their buildings.

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