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Starting Monday it will be illegal for Landlords to charge more than one month’s rent for a security deposit

Haney’s AB 12 goes into effect on July 1st and puts a one month's rent cap on security deposits statewide for most types of rental housing

For immediate release:
  • Nate Allbee
  • (415) 756-0561

SACRAMENTO, CA - On Monday Assemblymember Matt Haney’s (D - San Francisco) AB 12 banning landlords from charging exorbitant security deposits will go into effect in California. This landmark tenant protection bill stops the practice of California landlords charging two times and (in some cases three times) the monthly rent as a security deposit. California now joins eleven other states in the country to limit security deposits to only one month's rent.

“Massive security deposits can create insurmountable barriers to housing affordability and accessibility for millions of Californians” said Haney who chairs the California Legislature’s Renters’ Caucus. “Despite skyrocketing rents, laws on ensuring affordable security deposits haven't changed substantially since the 1970’s. The result is that landlords lose out on good tenants and tenants stay in homes that are too crowded, unsafe or far from work or school. This new law is a simple common sense change that will have an enormous impact on housing affordability for families in California, while also balancing a landlord’s need to protect themselves against potential liability.”

53% of California renters indicate that they are able to afford their rent but they’re unable to get an apartment because they simply can’t afford to pay the two month’s rent as a security deposit. This pushes many families, including those with individuals making minimum wage, to either forgo necessities such as food and utilities or acquire more debt to be approved for housing.

“In California’s high-cost rental market, expensive security deposits are often imposed on immigrants and people of color, effectively limiting access to safe and affordable housing. By capping high security deposits, AB 12 advances a measure of equity and empowers immigrants and people of color across the state, who contribute daily to making our diverse state thrive.” said Masih Fouladi, the Executive Director of California Immigrant Policy Center.

AB 12, which went into effect on July 1, 2024, does not impact small landlords. Mom and pop landlords that own only 2 properties with a total of no more than 4 units are exempt. It also does not have any effect on potential liability--landlords will still be able to seek damages from tenants who are responsible for harm to the property that exceeds the amount of the security deposit.