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House Maintenance Requirement


The House Maintenance Requirement is a policy set by brokerage firms that establishes the minimum percentage of total market value that an investor must maintain in their margin account. This requirement is specific to each brokerage firm and can be higher than the minimum set by regulators. If the investor’s account falls below this requirement, the firm may issue a margin call, forcing the investor to deposit more funds or sell some of their securities.


The phonetics for the keyword “House Maintenance Requirement” are:House: /haʊs/Maintenance: /ˈmeɪnt(ə)nəns/Requirement: /rɪˈkwaɪərmənt/

Key Takeaways


  1. Regular Check-ups: Regular maintenance checks are crucial for the longevity of your house. These checks could include inspecting roofing, plumbing, or electrical systems to detect any potential problems early, which may prevent expensive repairs in the future.
  2. Safety Measures: House maintenance also includes ensuring safety in the house. This could mean checking that all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order or making sure that all locks are secure. Proper maintenance can make a home safer and more comfortable.
  3. Value Preservation: A well-maintained house retains its value better than a poorly maintained one. Whether you’re planning on selling your house or not, maintaining its condition will preserve and can even increase its market value. This makes regular house maintenance an essential task for all homeowners.



The House Maintenance Requirement is a crucial term in business and finance as it safeguards brokerage firms from potential financial risks. This requirement represents the minimum percentage of equity that must remain in a margin account to protect both the client and the firm from the volatility of the market. Effectively, it prevents investors from borrowing too much and minimizes the potential losses that a brokerage firm can suffer from unpaid loans if the investor’s equity falls below the required level due to market fluctuations. As such, the House Maintenance Requirement serves as a financial buffer, which contributes to broader market stability.


The House Maintenance Requirement is essentially a tool used by brokerage firms to manage the risks associated to the financial assets that they handle for clients. Specifically, it pertains to the minimum margin requirement set by individual brokerage houses — which is usually a higher percentage than the minimum requirement set by regulators. Instituting a House Maintenance Requirement is essentially the brokerage’s way of ensuring it has enough collateral to cover the debts and potential losses of its clients, especially those involved in margin trading.Margin trading involves using borrowed funds from the brokerage to buy or sell more stock than you’d be able to with only your available funds. The House Maintenance Requirement consequently helps in regulating this system, ensuring clients don’t overextend their trading activities enough to jeopardize their ability to repay their borrowed funds. If a margin account’s balance falls below the brokerage’s house maintenance requirement, the firm may issue a margin call demanding the account holder to immediately deposit more cash or sell some of the securities held in the account to pay down the margin balance. This essentially enables brokerages to better manage risks associated with their financial activities, and ensure they remain within safe operating margins.


House Maintenance Requirement is a term used in finance, particularly in brokerage, to refer to the minimum equity amount that a margin account holder must maintain in the account after making a margin trade or purchase. Here are a few examples that can help illustrate the concept:1. Charles Schwab: Charles Schwab, a well-known financial services company, has a house maintenance requirement in place. If at any moment, the equity in a client’s margin account drops below the firm’s maintenance requirement due to market fluctuation or other reasons, clients would receive a margin call requiring them to either deposit more funds or securities into their account, or sell some of their current securities to meet the requirement.2. TD Ameritrade: TD Ameritrade is another major brokerage that has a house maintenance requirement for their margin accounts. Similar to Charles Schwab or any other brokerages, they will issue a margin call if their clients fail to meet the preset requirement, which can be satisfied by depositing more cash or selling a portion of their holdings.3. GameStop Trading Frenzy: House maintenance requirement became a household term when Robinhood, a popular investment app, unexpectedly placed trading restrictions on GameStop and other stocks in January 2021. The app’s unprecedented volume of trades and volatility caused a tenfold increase in Robinhood’s deposit requirements at its clearinghouse. The required amount went from $178 million to $1.4 billion, pushing Robinhood to raise their house maintenance requirement in response.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is House Maintenance Requirement?

The House Maintenance Requirement is a set of rules established by brokerage firms that are above and beyond the requirements of Margin Regulations established by the Federal Reserve Board. These additional rules are designed to protect the broker from potential losses.

Why do brokerage firms have their own House Maintenance Requirement?

Brokerage firms have their own House Maintenance Requirements because they may assume greater risk than the minimum levels set by the Federal Reserve Board, and these requirements can help protect the firm from any potential losses due to market fluctuations.

How does the House Maintenance Requirement impact an investor?

The House Maintenance Requirement impacts an investor because it establishes the minimum equity they must maintain in their margin account. If the investor’s account falls below this level, the brokerage firm may issue a margin call, requiring the investor to deposit more cash or securities into the account to meet this requirement.

What happens if I fail to meet the House Maintenance Requirement?

If you fail to meet the House Maintenance Requirement, the brokerage firm may sell your securities without notice in order to bring the equity in your account up to the required level. You would also be responsible for any losses that occur as a result.

Can the House Maintenance Requirement vary between different brokerage firms?

Yes, different brokerage firms may have different house maintenance requirements. It’s crucial to understand the rules associated with the brokerage firm you choose to deal with.

How is the House Maintenance Requirement calculated?

The House Maintenance Requirement calculation is usually based on a percentage of the total market value of the securities held in the margin account. However, the exact formula used may vary between brokerage firms.

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