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Q: What is the best rental deposit amount to ask for.

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And is there anything specific that I must do with it before needing to return it at the end of the tenancy?

A: Conventionally, the rental deposit amount is equal to anywhere from one to even three months’ rent. When a tenant pays the deposit, the landlord is required by the Rental Housing Act to place the money in an interest-bearing account held with a financial institution.

The tenant is within their rights to request a statement of the interest earned on the money at any time during their tenancy. Even though the deposit is paid to the landlord, it remains the tenant’s money.

The landlord is merely holding the money as a security measure, should the tenant default or breach the rental agreement.

If the tenancy runs its normal course, the deposit, along with all interest earned on the money, must be repaid to the tenant at the end of the lease period.

The landlord is entitled to deduct from the deposit any expenses incurred repairing any damage to the property which occurred during the tenancy. – Adrian Goslett, chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa

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