I was online looking for an apartment. It says, "we'll only need first, last, and deposit once your application is approved."

What does this mean?

  • 4
    Where are you located geographically? The legal treatment of security deposits can vary from place to place. Sep 4, 2013 at 11:27
  • 1
    Note that the legality of this will depend on where you are located. In Alberta, Canada, it's only legal to ask for first month plus a security deposit less than or equal to one month of rent. No more. Sep 4, 2013 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


This means that once your application is approved, you'll need to pay your first and last month's rent and a security deposit. You may get your security deposit back when you terminate your lease, assuming you've met all the conditions in the lease and haven't damaged your apartment.

If you decide to extend your lease, your last month's rent is usually carried forward and applied to the last month of your new/extended lease. For example, if you lease an apartment from September 2013 through the end of September 2014, your last month's rent is assumed to apply to September 2014. If you choose to extend your lease through the end of September 2015, your last month's rent is assumed to apply to September 2015, and so on. In other words, your last month's rent applies to the last month of your lease as it's currently stated. If you change/extend the lease, the last month changes.

If your rent increases sometime over the course of your lease (or your lease extension, specifically), you'll usually owe the difference between the amount you paid for your last month and the current rent. For example, if you pay last month's rent of $1500 when you sign your lease, but the rent increases to $1800 when you extend your lease, you'll probably owe $300 in the last month.

  • 1
    When the lease expires, that is, terminates naturally, the security deposit should be returned subject to the conditions stated in John's answer. In many states, the landlord may be required to pay interest on the security deposit also. On the other hand, in cases of early termination at the renter's request, that last month's rent might be applied to the rent for the last month (or partial month) of actual occupation of the premises, or might be kept by the landlord as a fee for permitting early termination of the lease. All this might be spelled out in the lease document too. Sep 4, 2013 at 11:24
  • @DilipSarwate All good points. I was just inquiring where the OP was located so I could find more specific information about security deposits. Sep 4, 2013 at 11:27
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    Many leases are for a full year, and the monthly rate for short-term rentals is usually more than the full-year rate, because the landlord has more expenses involved -- advertising the property for rent again in just a few weeks' time, clean up and getting the apartment ready for another rental, etc. Sep 4, 2013 at 11:35
  • @AndySmith Yes, in addition to the security deposit. Sep 4, 2013 at 11:36
  • @DilipSarwate Outside of hot markets the LL will also likely have a time period where the apartment isn't generating any revenue. That could easily be more than the other expenses. Sep 4, 2013 at 16:04