How to Get Help With Your Security Deposit [9 Practical Options that Work]

If you are looking for a new rental, you are probably getting sticker shock from the high rental prices.

But to add insult to injury, most landlords also insist on tenants putting up a security deposit that usually equals one month to even two months’ rent even before they can move in.

It’s a big financial commitment for most people and it is not uncommon for prospective tenants to struggle to come up with that kind of lump sum amount.

The good news is that there are some little known, but really practical ways you can overcome this obstacle. In this article, I am going to share 9 of the best options you can explore to get that security deposit and move into your new home.

Let’s get into it!

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

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1. Ask to Pay in Installments

One of the best ways to try to manage such a large lump sum amount is to see if you can divide it up into parts.

In my over 10 years as a landlord, I have often been asked by tenants if I would be willing to have them pay the security deposit in installments. In most cases, I agree if they are a solid tenant otherwise and have good credentials.

Some I have allowed to pay in two installments and others I have allowed to pay in three. I rarely go beyond that, but that does not mean your landlord won’t.

It never hurts to ask!

2. Cash Advance on Paycheck

In some cases, you might be short right now on the security deposit, but you can make up for it once payday hits.

But time is often of the essence when looking for an apartment and you suspect that if you delay, you might lose that coveted rental to someone else.

In this type of situation, you may want to see if you can get an advance on your paycheck.

There are plenty of apps and platforms that do this, although you should be aware that fees and interest will often apply.

Some places you can check out include EarnIn, Empower, and Dave.

3. Family

In desperate times, you can always see if your family or close relatives can help you out.

Now this may seem like an obvious option, but one little tip to help make the request a bit more appealing is that you can highlight the “refundability” of a security deposit.

Unlike a loan to help make a rental payment or some other sunk cost, a loan for a security deposit is much more likely to be paid back.

That’s because if you don’t cause damage to the property or otherwise make the landlord incur expenses, then you should get most, if not all, of it back when your lease ends.

All you have to do then is pass along that security deposit to your family member. You don’t need to go out of pocket.

This little fact should make it a bit more palatable for family members who are on the fence about lending you this money.

4. Crowdfunding (Gofundme)

These days people use crowdfunding for all sorts of needs. A really common one is to set up a gofundme for your security deposit.

I am sure you have heard of it. It’s a popular app that people use to fund all sorts of endeavors and the idea is that you reach out to your network of friends and family to see if they will contribute a small amount to help you.

Because you are tapping into a community, the ask is not so burdensome for any one person and you’d be surprised at how quickly the contributions can build up from just a series of small donations.

5. Go to Your Local Pawnshop

Ok, we’ve covered some of the slick and new methods for rounding up cash, but you can also go old school.

If you have valuables that you are willing to put up, you can go to a pawnshop and get a loan based on the value of that item

6. Government Programs

You can also look into government programs that offer housing assistance for low income people.

In some cases, they will help with the first and last month’s rent as well as the security deposit. Here’s an example of such a program that is running in Washington D.C.

Note that terms and qualification requirements differ depending on the program and locality, so you will need to do a bit of research to find out what programs are available in your area and what they offer.

A great resource is the United Way. By going on their website at or calling 2-1-1 you can find programs in your area that can help you.

7. Non-Profits and Charities

Speaking of charities like the United Way, there are also a bunch of non-profit organizations and charities that can help you with your security deposit.

Some places to check out include the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities. There are others too, of course. You can even go to local churches which may be willing to lend a hand if you are in real need.

8. Personal Loans

If you don’t qualify for some of these government programs or charitable assistance, you can try to get a personal loan to make up for any shortfall in your security deposit.

Going to a brick and mortar bank can take a long time (and their application and approval process can sometimes be grueling).

If you need a quicker solution, consider some online lending apps, like SoFi, Rocket Loans, or LightStream, all of which offer same-day approval and funding.

9. Credit Cards

Of course, you can always take the old reliable route of using a credit card to finance your security deposit. In many cases, credit cards offer cash out options, but the interest rate and fees can be quite hefty.

Another option is to have your landlord use one of the many landlord rental payment platforms, like or These platforms allow tenants to make payments with their credit card (subject to a fairly modest fee).

Of course, there are plenty of person to person cash apps where you can pay someone with a credit card, such as venmo, paypal and the like.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – 9 great options to help you with your security deposit and resources to help you get started with each. Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!