New bill would clear way for higher renter security deposits

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COLUMBIA - A new bill that got initial approval earlier today may give landlords the ability to raise the cost of a renter's security deposit. Currently, landlords may not demand or receive a security deposit in excess of two month's rent.

Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, is the sponsor of the proposed bill. According to Steve Helms, legislative assistant to Burlison, Burlison heard the idea from a landlord in his district.

According to Helms, the goal of the bill is to protect landlords that are taking on high-risk tenants. Helms mentioned that a lot of tenants have the ability to pay the rent, but are rejected because of poor rental history. If landlords could set the security deposit at a higher rate they might be more willing to except tenants will bad records.

But, not all tenants are on board with this idea. Naomi Brooks, a tenant at Keeneland Downs, said, "I really don't think that's fair because, I mean, you know you never really know whose going to be a security risk even if somebody has a history of bad things they did, people can change."

I talked with a few landlords around town who were either unaware of the bill, or did not think that it would impact them personally.