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Last revision: 11/25/2023
Available formats: Word and PDF
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This Security Deposit Return Letter is a document that a Landlord can use when returning a security deposit to a former Tenant. Additionally, if the Landlord needs to make deductions from the deposit for issues such as damage to the property or lack of sufficient notice from the Tenant prior to vacating the property, the Landlord can use this letter to explain to the Tenant the basis of the deductions. In situations where Tenants upheld all terms of the lease agreement and no deductions were necessary, Tenants often use their Security Deposit Return Letter as a reference letter to help them rent other properties in the future. A clear and detailed Security Deposit Return Letter can be beneficial for both Landlords and Tenants.
This can be used for both a Residential Lease Agreement arrangent, where someone is renting a property in which to reside, or a Commercial Lease Agreement arrangement where someone is renting a property in which to conduct business. For more information about getting back a security deposit, please see the guide How to Get Your Security Deposit Back.
How to use this document
This Letter allows the Landlord to include information such as the location of the rental property, the amount of the initial security deposit, and whether or not the full deposit will be returned. If the full deposit will not be returned, the Landlord can describe reasons for deductions from the deposit, including damages to the property, failure to sufficiently clean and dispose of trash, failure of the Tenant to provide sufficient advance notice prior to vacating the property, and any other miscellaneous issues such as replacing missing items or needing to change the locks due to the Tenant's failure to return the keys. Once the Landlord finishes describing any necessary deductions, the letter explains how much, if any, of the deposit the Tenant will be getting back and the manner in which the refund will occur (e.g. cash, money order, check, etc.).
After completing the Security Deposit Return Letter, the Landlord can send an original signed copy of the letter to the Tenant by certified mail, so as to have a record that the letter and security deposit were sent in a timely fashion, according to state-specific landlord-tenant law, in case of later dispute.
The return of security deposits is governed by landlord-tenant law, which is specific to each state. Nearly all states require that Landlords return security deposits to their Tenants in a timely fashion, from two weeks up to sixty days depending on the state, and provide an explanation for any deductions made from the deposit. State housing bureaus and tenants' unions have information about the specific requirements for each state.
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