Question: What is a security deposit, and how much is your landlord allowed to charge you for it?
A security deposit is a sum of money that your landlord may charge you at the beginning of your lease to ensure that if you cause any damages to the rental unit or move out without paying all of the rent that you owed, your landlord will have money from you to cover those losses.
After your tenancy ends, your landlord may deduct from your security deposit any unpaid rent that you may owe, as well as any other charges that your rental agreement specifically allows your landlord to collect from you. A.R.S. § 33-1321(D). After deducting these amounts, your landlord must return any remaining money from your security deposit to you.
By law, your landlord cannot charge you more than an amount equal to one and one half month's rent as a security deposit. A.R.S. § 33-1321(A). Any amount that you pay as a deposit is refundable at the end of your tenancy UNLESS IT IS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED IN WRITING AS NON-REFUNDABLE. A.R.S. § 33-1321(B).