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I paid $158.00 security deposit in April 1972. How much should I get back? I moved out on June 30, 2015 with no deductions for damages. I lived in Maryland.

  • @keshlam - do you know this for sure? Each state in the US has its own rules regarding security deposits. In MA, for example, we need to keep the funds in a separate account and send the tenant interest each year. A 45 cent stamp, check, and envelop to send an 18 cent interest payment. At least most of the 70s and 80s had real interest. – JoeTaxpayer Jul 18 '15 at 18:21
  • You've been renting the same apartment for 43 years? Wow! – Ben Miller Jul 19 '15 at 3:41
  • @BenMiller Not only Wow! but since typical security deposits are one month's rent, the apartment must be rent-controlled (which could explain the 43 years). – Dilip Sarwate Jul 19 '15 at 16:02
  • @DilipSarwate Requiring a whole month's rent for security deposit is not universal - mine is only about 20%, for example. – Andrew Medico Jul 28 '15 at 22:14
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In Maryland, a landlord must hold your security deposit in an escrow account and pay you interest when returning the deposit. The interest is simple interest; it does not compound.

The interest rate that they must pay has changed over the last 43 years. Before October 1, 2004, the rate was 4%. Until January 1, 2015, the rate was 3%. Currently, the rate is 1.5% OR the simple interest rate accrued at the daily U.S. Treasury yield curve rate for one year, as of the first business day of each year, whichever is greater. (This year, the rate is 1.5%.) Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development has a Security Deposit Calculator for easy calculation of this interest; however, it only works for deposits since January 1, 2015.

It is unclear to me whether the interest rate in effect is the one that was in place when the security deposit was made, or if the rate changes over the years.

At most, if you get 4% interest every year, I would expect you to receive $429.76, which is $158 + ($158 * 4% * 43). The interest is accrued every 6 months, so you would not get any interest for the 3 months that you rented in your 44th year. (With the new law that took effect this year, interest is accrued monthly.)

At least, if the interest rate changes with the new laws, I would expect you to receive $413.18, which is $158 + ($158 * 4% * 32.5) + ($158 * 3% * 10.25) + ($158 * 1.5% * 0.5).

Some text on the Security Deposit Calculator suggests that the laws for Prince George's County are different than the rest of the state. If you are in that county, you'll need to check the local ordinances to see what security deposit policies apply.

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