According to the state laws of Texas, landlords are allowed to make deductions on the tenant's security deposit to only cover unpaid rent, damages on the property that are in excess of ordinary wear and tear and any other expenses caused by breach of lease contracts. The landlords must pay the tenant their security deposit or any balance after making deductions accompanied by an itemized list of deductions and receipts to proof expenses within 30 days from the time the tenant left the property.
Ordinary wear and tear are the damages from unavoidable circumstances from the daily use of the rented property and the security deposit cannot be used to cover this. These are damages such as blinds wearing out, door handles getting loose and wall paints fading. The security deposit can only cover critical damages and those caused by tenant's negligence and ignorance like broken bathroom tiles, broken faucets or a damaged sink.
For instances where the landlord withholds the tenant's security deposit in bad faith for reasons besides the legal deductions, tenants have several options to get their security deposit back. The first thing that a tenant needs to do is to send a simple yet professionally written claims letter to the landlord. Your letter should first acknowledge that you have received the itemized list sent to you but dispute the expenses noting your reasons. Also, make sure that every communication and agreement reached with the landlord is documented to avoid issues in future.
This Repair Damages Claim Letter refers to the Texas state laws and is meant to address your concerns on deductions that are not legalized and also send a polite warning to the landlord if they default on repaying the owed amount. To get a return receipt and guarantee of letter delivery, be sure to send it by certified mail.