Most residential leases and rental agreements in North Dakota require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of North Dakota landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does North Dakota law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
Yes. Under North Dakota landlord-tenant laws, a landlord may charge a tenant the equivalent of one month's rent for the security deposit. if the tenant has a pet, the deposit should not exceed the greater of $2,500 or an amount equal to two months' rent.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in North Dakota for returning a security deposit?
Under North Dakota law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 30 days after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord (that is, returned the keys and vacated the property).
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that North Dakota landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in North Dakota?
Yes. In addition to complying with North Dakota laws on security deposit limits and how (and when) the deposit must be returned to tenants, landlords in North Dakota must pay interest on the security deposit if the period of occupancy is at least nine months. Interest must be paid to the tenant at the end of the lease.
Where can I look up North Dakota law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up North Dakota law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at North Dakota Century Code § 47-16-07.1. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in North Dakota. For tips on looking up North Dakota state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You may also find useful information on tenant rights in the guide available at http://www.ag.nd.gov/Brochures/FactSheet/TenantRights.pdf.