Security Deposit Return FAQs

What is The Purpose of The Security Deposit Return Letter?

A security deposit request letter, lets your landlord know you are aware of  the laws and timeframes regarding the return of a security deposit. This should be able to persuade your landlord, if he was thinking of taking advantage of you, that his only option is a full, or partial if the case be, return of your security deposit. As this can be several hundred if not thousands of dollars, a formally written letter is required. It should be written with the proper structure, hitting the key points and acknowledging the lease agreement if necessary. Before going further, be reminded that a deduction for the cost of cleaning to return the unit to the move-in level of cleanliness is often allowed. To avoid this deduction make sure you leave it the same way you received it. Also be aware that a landlord may not deduct for the normal wear and tear associated with living in a rental unit. The following list contains what are usually considered valid reasons for a landlord to keep a security deposit:

  • You owe back rent or failed to give sufficient notice of vacating (normally 30 days advance)
  • You have damaged the rental unit or property, some examples being:
    • broken windows
    • holes/deep gouges in walls
    • severe floor damage
    • burns on the carpets
    • animal(pet) stains in the carpets
    • self-fixes that did not go very well
    • creating an unhealthy living unit through excessive dirt and trash
    • broken tiles or fixtures in bathrooms
    • broken doors, locks, hinges
    • broken appliances due to tenant neglect or misuse
    • removing paint the tenant painted
  • You left items that need to be stored or disposed of by the landlord

If none of these apply to you, and there is only the normal wear and tear, then you have the right to a full and speedy return of your deposit. Unless serious damages occurred a landlord cannot make a tenant pay for things like painting, new carpeting, new curtains or new appliances. Things like chipped paint, fading paint, worn hardwood floors, dingy appliances, and worn carpets, constitute the normal wear and tear that any property sustains. And if your deposit is kept, or even a partial sum is withheld without good reason, a letter requesting return is your best option. How to write a complete letter, the key points to remember, and all the necessary formal letter details, are taken care of with our sample letter. Just quickly edit it with your specifics. It will take just a few minutes to complete our pre-written Security Deposit Return Letter

What are The Basics of the Security Deposit Return Letter?

Typical Timeline Of Deposit Return Dates

Every state has a different timeline but typically landlords have 15 to 30 days to return the deposit from your move-out date or he is required to send information as to the damages he is claiming and the verification/receipts of their repair.

The Basics of the Security Deposit Return Letter

The security deposit demand letter needs to be taken as seriously as any formal business correspondence; written with care and containing the relevant sections. It should be sent via certified mail with return receipt requested so that you have proof, if needed later, that the landlord received it. As the tenant you should make a copy of this letter. Proceeding in such a manner shows that you’ve done your due diligence and have tried to resolve the matter reasonably. You’ll also have a paper trail if you ever need to take legal action against your landlord. If the landlord does not respond to the letter of security deposit request within a reasonable amount of time, which varies among states, the tenant can escalate his actions with a Security Deposit Demand Letter.

How We’ve Written The Request for a Security Request Return Letter?

The Opening

A security deposit request letter is a priority business correspondence; taking the time and pains necessary to structure and write it well can make a huge difference in how seriously your landlord considers your claim. We start with your name and address (your own letterhead) at the top center and below that on the left hand side “Certified Mail Return Receipt” followed by the date and the landlord’s name and address. And just below that “Re: Security Deposit Request” followed by a salutation (e.g. Dear Mr. Landlord) to finish the opening part of the letter.

Your State’s Security Deposit Refund Laws

Each state differs in the timeframe and details concerning security deposits, so we’ve adjusted each letter to include the state laws that address security deposit returns to tenants. For most states the landlord usually has thirty (30) days to return your security deposit and/or provide an itemization of damages he is claiming with the receipts to back it up. Also without a forwarding address supplied a landlord is not legally required to return a deposit in some states. However, each state is different, so do your homework, so the Hometitan letters have been written and prepared with the latest laws incorporated

The Opening Paragraph

Indicate the date you vacated the rental unit, or the date you will be vacating, and the amount of money you gave the landlord for your security deposit. We follow this with language stating that you’ve fulfilled your obligations under the lease agreement and would like your security deposit returned. Next comes language that states you left the rental premises the way you received it with only normal wear and tear and therefore you are entitled to a full return of your security deposit. If a walk through occurred you may want to add the date of the walk through and reference what damages were found if any and whatever you may have fixed.

Body Paragraph

The main section of this letter is for citing the law with the timeframe for returning a security deposit in your state, also noting that if your landlord intends to keep to keep any portion of your security deposit that he provide you with a written itemization of any damage he is claiming with receipts to back it up. If you would like information on the security deposit laws in your state the Government’s Housing and Urban Development Website has a comprehensive database of information.

The Closing

In some situations you may want to request that you receive your deposit promptly so that no other actions need to be taken and ask the landlord to contact you within one business week. This creates a clear paper trail and record of his responses. Indicate that your forwarding address has been included where the payment can be sent and thank him in advance for responding promptly to your concern. Sign and the letter and make a copy for your records. Later on, in case of a legal dispute, this will be proof that you formally requested your security deposit.

What are the Key Points To Remember in writing Security Deposit Request Letter?

The Security Deposit Request Letter Key Points To Remember

The Security Deposit Request Letter Key Points To Remember
  • Include Key Date of Rental Unit Departure
  • Security Deposit Amount & Expectation as to Return
  • No damages claimed, only normal wear and tear
  • Request an itemized list of damages if landlord is withholding any part of security deposit
  • Keep copies
  • Sign & Date the letter

What are The Rental Repair Laws of Each State?

California, New York, Florida, Illinois; states have different laws and codes pertaining to security deposits timelines and reasons a landlord can withhold part or all of the deposit. Depending on the laws in your state, which our letters specify, your landlord has a certain number of days to return your deposit and can only keep it for specific reasons.

We’ve done all this research for you and have written letters for each state and incorporate that into our security deposit refund letter.

Use The HomeTitan Security Deposit Request Letter

If your landlord has not returned your deposit in a timely fashion your rights are clear in most states and you can get a full or partial refund if your within your legal rights.

This map indicates what states we currently have finished letters for as of 2020. Use the links below to select your state's Landlord Repair Request Letter. We're working to have letters for all states in just a few months.

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Click Your State Below To Purchase The Security Deposit Request Letter

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AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
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