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North Dakota security deposit laws

Last updated: May 11, 2015

What’s the deal with security deposit laws in North Dakota?

As a landlord, you need to know the appropriate way to handle security deposits. Failing to comply with North Dakota’s security deposit law could end up costing you significantly in court, so it’s important to understand your role at every stage of the rental process with regard to security deposits.

Security deposit protocol is all the more important in North Dakota as a result of the oil boom that has drawn many thousands of people out to areas like Williston, making housing scarce.  In Williston alone, there are at least 30,000 residents living in temporary housing or trailer parks, and many of the traditional housing opportunities are full. While filled properties can be good for finances from a landlord’s perspective, this must be carefully balanced with the importance of a security deposit to protect your investment.

Do landlords need to charge tenants a security deposit in North Dakota?

While North Dakota laws do not mandate collection of a security deposit, it’s in the landlord’s best interests to collect funds to protect against possible damage. Collecting a security deposit increases the chances that the tenant will take care of the property and pay rent.

What are the limits on rental deposits in North Dakota?

  • The security deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent
  • If the tenant has a pet, the deposit cannot exceed two month’s rent or $2,500, whichever is greater

For a studio apartment in Bismarck with a monthly rent cost of $800, the landlord could charge $800 as a security deposit. If the tenant has a pet, a $1,600 deposit would be within the owner’s rights.

Do landlords need to provide a receipt for a security deposit?

It is not necessary, but it is a good practice. Most landlords use the lease as a receipt for the security deposit.

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Does the money need to be kept in a separate account to allow it to accrue interest?

Yes, the security deposit needs to be kept in a separate account that earns interest. If the tenant stays on the property for at least nine months, he or she is entitled to the interest as well as the security deposit upon lease end.

What can security deposit money be used for?

  • Back rent
  • Damages caused by the tenant
  • Cleaning required beyond “broom clean” status

What is the deadline to return a security deposit in North Dakota?

The security deposit (minus any costs incurred for cleaning or repairs, if applicable) must be returned to the renter no later than 30 days after the tenant moves out.

Do landlords need to notify renters of security deposit money used to fix damages?

Yes, the landlord needs to provide an itemized accounting of how any funds from the security deposit were used.

Where can I learn more about North Dakota Security Deposit laws?

If you have any questions, or think you may want to learn more about security deposit laws in North Dakota, please consult a lawyer.

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Disclaimer: The materials on this database provide general information related to the law and are intended to provide a layman’s summary of the law. The information provided does not constitute legal advice and the manager of this database is not a law firm. These materials are intended, but cannot be promised or guaranteed to be current, complete or up-to-date. All of the information offered are intended for general informational purposes only. You should not act or rely on any of the information contained on this database without first seeking the advice of a qualified attorney.

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