Atlanta’s Renter’s Choice Bill is the latest step in eliminating security deposits
The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a “Renter’s Choice” bill, which requires landlords with 10 or more units to give renters options beyond paying a traditional security deposit.
With this new ordinance, residents will have the choice of either paying their security deposit in three monthly installments, or purchasing a deposit alternative through a third-party provider.
Though Atlanta is only the second city in the country (after Cincinnati) to pass this kind of law, we see it as just the tip of the iceberg for legislators across the country. Paying move-in costs is a challenge for many renters, and ordinances like these help making securing a new home more affordable.
If you’re a property owner, it’s likely only a matter of time before your state or city introduces a similar bill—if they haven’t already. This means it’s in your best interest to research your options for deposit alternatives sooner rather than later.
And if you’re just getting started in the process, here are 4 things to look for as you evaluate deposit alternatives.
1. Compliance with “Renter’s Choice”-style bills
Right off the bat, you’ll want to make sure that each deposit alternative you’re considering is compliant with security deposit legislation.
If your city hasn’t yet introduced legislation of this kind, your best bet is to look for a product that meets the requirements set forth by cities like Atlanta and Cincinnati. It’s likely that other jurisdictions will look to their bills as precedent, and that we’ll soon see similar guidelines nationwide.
2. Flexibility for renters
The intention behind many bills of this type is to give renters flexibility over how they spend their money. In keeping with this intention, the deposit alternative you choose should maintain some level of flexibility for residents.
At Jetty, for example, our product is never mandated—so if a resident would prefer to pay a traditional cash deposit, that’s still an option. We also offer the choice between monthly payments or a one-time fee, so renters have even more control over their finances.
3. Adequate protection
While all deposit alternatives on the market today are designed to protect properties against damage and lost rent, they each do so in a slightly different way. These differences can have a significant impact on the value they provide to the property.
For example, “damage caps” within a policy can limit how much a property can claim for specific types of loss.
So as you evaluate your options, we recommend that you spend some time learning how different policies work—and which offer adequate protection for your needs.
4. Easy integration
Leasing teams already have a lot to get done every day, so it’s important that introducing a deposit alternative doesn’t add more to that workload.
Ideally, the product you choose will easily integrate with existing workflows—and potentially even simplify the leasing process for your team.