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Security Deposits

The security deposit is a sum of money given to the landlord by the tenant at or near the beginning of the lease. The purpose of the deposit is to protect the landlord against damages above normal wear and tear during the tenancy. The landlord holds the deposit while the tenant occupies the property and, after the tenant moves out, the landlord deducts the proper charges from the deposit and returns the remainder to the tenant.

To get as much back of their deposit as possible a tenant should document any damage and dirty items in writing with as much detail as possible when you move in, and give your landlord a copy of this documentation. Do not accept a dirty or damaged property – make the landlord agree in writing to clean the apartment or make any necessary repairs before you take possession. There are three things that a landlord can deduct from a security deposit. They are unpaid or late rent and fees, the cost to repair the unit above normal wear and tear, and the cost to clean the unit.

Amount: Nebraska law limits the security deposit to an amount equal to one-month’s rent. However, if the tenant has a pet the landlord may additionally demand a pet deposit equal to one-quarter of one-month’s rent. A local Housing Authority (or any other agency organized under the Nebraska Housing Agency Act) is not bound by these security deposit limits.

Return: When the tenant vacates the property and gives the landlord IN WRITING a forwarding address and a request for the return of the deposit and an itemization of all deductions, the landlord has 14 days to provide the balance and itemization. The tenant should be sure to make this request in writing and keep a copy of it. If the landlord fails to send the deposit and itemization, the tenant can sue the landlord to get the deposit back.

Nebraska Statute 76-1416