When you move out of a rental unit your landlord must return your security deposit within a certain amount of time. If he fails to do so, you can write a security deposit demand letter reminding your landlord of your rights and the laws regarding the return of your deposit.
This letter helps create a paper trail of your communication with your landlord over this matter, which could come in handy if you end up taking him to small claims court.
Additionally, the letter re-opens communication between you and your landlord regarding the security deposit. In some cases, he may have felt entitled to retain your deposit to cover the cost of repairs to your former rental. The letter lets your landlord know that you are expecting a check, and offers him the opportunity to discuss it with you.
Your security deposit demand letter should include the following information:
- Your landlord’s name and address
- Your lease date
- The address and unit number of the rental in question
- The state law regarding security deposits
- Your reason for requesting that your deposit be returned
- Your contact information and forwarding address
You can use the sample below to craft your letter. Make sure to read through it carefully, and make any changes necessary so that it fits your particular situation.
Dear [Landlord’s Name],
I am writing to request that you return my security deposit in the amount of $_____.
I vacated my rental unit at [rental address] on [move out date] and left it in excellent condition, which you acknowledged on our final walkthrough.
California Civil Code 1950.5 dictates that you must return security deposit funds within 21 days after a tenant moves out.
You have now exceeded that deadline by 11 days.
Please forward my security deposit funds to the following address within 10 days:
[Your forwarding address]
If I do not receive a check within this timeline I will be forced to pursue legal action.
If you wish to discuss this matter in more detail, you can reach me by phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX or email at [your email address].
Your letter will look slightly different depending on the reason for demanding your security deposit – make sure you adjust it to suit your situation. As long as you include the pertinent information from the checklist above, your letter can take any form you feel will best get the point across.
You can send the letter by email, mail, or both. Generally, it’s wise to send this type of communication through certified mail because then you will be alerted that your landlord has received it. Always keep your receipts in case you end up taking legal action down the road.