How to Set Up an Escrow Account for Security Deposit


Both renters and landlords may benefit greatly from using escrow services to manage their financial transactions. When a new lease is signed between a landlord and a tenant, the tenant’s security deposit may be placed in an escrow account as a precautionary measure by the landlord. Tenants who may not have had a previous connection with their landlord might benefit greatly from this financial instrument’s ability to instil confidence and trust in their landlord. When seen from the viewpoint of the landlord, an escrow account is a useful tool for ensuring that their tenant’s security deposit is held in a secure location until the day when all or part of it is delivered to them. If a landlord wants to put a tenant’s security deposit into an escrow account, there are a few steps that need to be taken to make that happen, but other than that, the process is rather basic.

Choosing the Right Account

Landlords in the city of San Francisco are legally obligated to place their tenants’ security deposits in an interest-bearing escrow account. This account must be opened in order to comply with the law. The tenant is entitled to receive any interest that has been accumulated on the account from the landlord at the end of each year. The landlord is responsible for making this transfer. The actual sum of money received via interest is likely to be fairly little; nonetheless, according to state legislation, landlords are required to return these earnings to their renters regardless of the size of the amount. In light of this, landlords should make it clear to the customer service representatives at their banks that they want an interest-bearing escrow account in order to guarantee that they are in full compliance with the regulations governing their industry.

Collect Vital Information

Important tenant information must be provided by landlords for an escrow account to be established. Landlords are responsible for providing this information. The tenant’s entire legal name, the location at which they will be residing, and their Social Security number are the three pieces of information that banks will often request from prospective renters. The fact that all of this information is normally gathered over the course of a lease agreement means that landlords shouldn’t have any trouble supplying these. In a manner similar to this, financial institutions will also ask for the full legal name and Social Security number of the landlord. After receiving this information, the bank will normally make a request for a copy of the lease agreement between the tenant and the landlord. This is done so that the bank may be confident that it is kept informed of the real conditions of the lease in the event that a contractual dispute arises.

Maintaining the Deposit

In the state of California, landlords are prohibited from legally demanding a security deposit that is equal to more than two months’ worth of the usual rental rate for an apartment that is unfurnished. It is the responsibility of the landlord to repay the tenant’s security deposit in whole or in part within 21 days after the tenant’s decision to vacate the rented property. If the landlord intends to take money out of the security deposit, the tenant is entitled to have this decision explained to them in writing and the landlord is required to submit an itemised summary of any withdrawals made from the account. After the initial contribution has been taken out of the escrow account, the account itself may be closed. It is necessary of landlords that they create fresh escrow accounts for each new renter that they take on.