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Brunswick, Ohio 44212
Phone: 330-460-3347
Fax: 330-460-6170
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Screening Services Newsletter 9/11

NEWSLETTER                    Phone: 440-230-2929                       Toll Free  855-Ok2Rent


What is the difference between a Security Deposit and Earnest Money?

In exchange for Earnest Money the Landlord promises to hold the rental property available for the tenant to move into until a specified date.  Once the tenant moves into the rental property, the same dollar bill the Landlord called Earnest Money is now changed to Security Deposit.  Security Deposit is money given to the Landlord to secure that the rent will be paid on time and the property will be returned in the same condition received, minus normal wear and tear. 

Why is it so important to use the term Earnest Money and NOT Security Deposit? 

              The tenant signs the lease and gives the Landlord Earnest Money to hold the property until the move-in date at the end of the month.  A few days after signing, the tenant changes his mind and wants the earnest money back.  In most states, earnest money is non-refundable.  It is there to cover the cost of starting the Landlord's rental process over again. 

              The tenant signs the lease and gives the Landlord a Security Deposit.  A few days later, the tenant changes his mind and wants the security deposit back.  Since the tenant did not move into the property, has done no damage and no rent has been paid, the security deposit must be returned to the tenant.    Lesson Learned: Always use the words Earnest Money on the receipt when accepting money prior to the move-in date.

COURT TIP:  Before you start cleaning up the mess or repairing the damages done by the tenant, take pictures.  If you go to court, bring 3 sets of pictures; one for the judge, one set for the defendant and one set for you to refer too.  Handing the same set of pictures from judge to litigants takes up valuable time.

SUGGESTION FOR COURT PROCEEDINGS:  Always ask that your case be tape recorded.  You never know when the testimony will come in handy. 



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The content of this website is intended for general informational purposes only. Always verify pertinent information with your real estate attorney, broker, county, state and federal authorities before acting responsibly. The Screening Services staff is made up of seasoned Landlords, not attorneys, who are ready to answer your questions and brainstorm your tenant/landlord problems.