California Caps Security Deposits at One (1) Month’s Rent

In November Governor Newsome signed into law California legislation which limits security deposits to one (1) month’s rent for both furnished and unfurnished residential units. The new cap on security deposits for Leases takes effect July 1, 2024.

San Francisco Assembly person Matt Haney authored AB 12, which passed both the Senate and the Assembly houses in September. The legislation is a monumental shift from existing law, which allows up to two (2) months’ rent as security for an unfurnished unit and up to three (3) months’ rent for a furnished rental.

There is a major primary exception to AB 12. The law excludes landlords who own up to two (2) residential rental properties – which collectively include up to four (4) dwelling units offered for rent.  To qualify under the “limited number of units” exception, the owner must hold the property as (a) a natural person, (b) a limited liability company – in which all members are natural persons, or (c) under a family trust. If one satisfies these conditions, a “limited number of units” Owner is permitted to collect up to two (2) months’ rent as a security deposit.

As always, there is an exception – to the exception of every Rule. The “limited number of units” exception does not apply when the prospective tenant is a military service member.

Once again, the Law takes effect next Summer on July 1, 2024, which provides landlords time to make the necessary adjustments.

Contact one of our seasoned Landlord-Tenant Attorney’s to determine how California’s latest legislation impacts you.


Written By

Stefan L. Seper