Security Deposit Demand Letter to Landlord (Free Templates)

A security deposit is the money paid to the landlord or the property manager when moving in. The deposit can be used to cover any unpaid rent and the cost of repairing damage above normal wear and tear after moving in.

A demand letter for a security deposit is a request from a tenant to remind the property manager or landlord to reimburse the full amount paid at the start of the lease.

It is written only after the landlord has failed to pay back the tenant within the required time frame as stipulated by law.

Landlords require that tenants pay a one-time security deposit to protect against any damages done to the property by a tenant. If a tenant decides to move out of their property, they have to make sure that there are no damages. For this reason, a landlord will require the tenant to make a one-time security deposit to cover any losses that they might have incurred during their time at the property.

It is a common scenario for landlords and property managers to return little to none of a security deposit. If the landlord wants to deduct money for repairs from your security deposit, they are required to document the reasons why they are keeping part of the money.

However, the tenant can dispute the reasons if they have proof, in the form of photographs, and signed documents, about the original condition of the property and the condition at the time of moving out.

How Do I Know My Security Deposit Was “Wrongfully” Withheld?

Before accusing your landlord of wrongfully withholding your security deposit, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Were the charges raised by the landlord reasonable or substantiated by proper documentation?
  • Did you provide a notice to move on time, and was the notice received?
  • Did the landlord issue you a notice stating why a portion of your security deposit was withheld?

The landlord /property manager is required by law to refund the deposit amount under the following conditions:

  • If there is no damage to the property, return the entire security deposit to the tenant at the tenant’s new mailing address or call them to have them collect their deposit within 30 days of the lease termination or demand from the tenant.
  • If there is damage to the property, issue the tenant a written notice describing the damage and the exact amount of the deposit that was used to repair the damage.
  • If the damage does not exceed, the amount of the security deposit withheld, what’s left of the deposit must be returned to the tenant within 30 days of the lease termination or demand from the tenant.

How Can I Avoid a Security Deposit Dispute?

As a landlord, ensure that your tenants perform a thorough inspection of the property before moving in. You can provide them with a conditional rental checklist for them to use when assessing the property.

Make sure that the checklist is comprehensive and includes each room. Make sure to go through the list with the tenant, sign the completed checklist, and keep a copy for future reference. You can also photograph each room in the rental and any yard space and give a copy to the tenant.

What You Should Do to Protect Your Security Deposit

The following tips will give you a better chance of getting your security deposit back when you move out.

Before or when you move in:

  • Make sure you are given a payment receipt of the security deposit and keep it safe
  • Before moving in, use a checklist to assess the property, note down all the things and their condition, and have the landlord sign it.
  • Take photos of each room

When you are ready to move out:

  • Issue a notice to your landlord in writing informing them of your plans to move out.
  • Return any property that needs to be returned, e.g., keys or gate pass, to the right person
  • Ensure that the apartment is in good condition when you move out

To sue your landlord/property manager in small claims court:

If your landlord fails to refund your security deposit after sending them a demand letter, your last option is to file a lawsuit against them. Steps to filing a lawsuit against your property manager/landlord include:

  • Determine where to file the suit. You can seek legal advice from your attorney before filing the lawsuit.
  • See if the court has any forms that you can fill out for your small claims case
  • After filing the suit, the landlord will then be issued a lawsuit
  • After they are served, they will have up to 10 days to respond to your lawsuit. The landlord can also offer a counterclaim against you.
  • After which, the case will be set for trial
  • After presenting your case, the judge will make a ruling

Reasons Why Your Landlord Might Deduct Money From Your Security Deposit?

A landlord is not allowed to deduct money from your security deposit based on normal wear and tear. Some of the reasons why your landlord may deduct money from your security deposit include:

  • The tenant has failed to keep the plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit reasonably clean
  • The tenant does not keep his residence in a safe and clean condition
  • The tenant failed to adhere to applicable building and housing codes, materially affecting health and safety
  • The tenant or his guests have disturbed another tenant’s peaceful enjoyment of their dwelling unit
  • Any part of the leased unit that has been purposefully or carelessly neglected, vandalized, damaged, or removed, or allowed by another party to do so, has been done by the tenant.

How to Write a Security Deposit Demand Letter

If the landlord has failed to refund your security deposit, you should notify them by writing a demand letter. When writing this letter, include the following information:

  • The date of the letter
  • The landlord/property manager’s full name and address
  • The address of the residence and the date you moved in
  • A declaration that you have paid the full amount of your rent and that you are current with your payments
  • Include a statement that you had issued the landlord written notice of your move-out
  • Give a brief description of the apartment’s condition to the landlord as of the time you moved out.
  • Explain that you have not been refunded your security deposit despite reaching out to the landlord
  • Include the exact amount of the security deposit you’re entitled to
  • Your new address
  • Demand an immediate refund of the security deposit and provide a time limit for doing so
  • Inform the landlord that failure to heed your request within the stipulated time limit that you with no other option but to take the matter to small claims court
  • Provide your phone number
  • Your signature and new address

Security Deposit Demand Letter Template

[Your Name]

[Your Current Address]

[City, State, Zip Code]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Phone Number]


[Landlord’s Name or Property Management Company]


[City, State, Zip Code]

Dear [Landlord’s Name or Property Management Company],

I am writing to formally request the return of my security deposit for the property located at [Rental Property Address], where I resided from [Lease Start Date] to [Lease End Date]. As per our lease agreement and state law, I vacated the property on [Move-Out Date], returned all keys, and left the premises in good condition, subject to normal wear and tear.

It has been [Number of Days] days since my lease ended and the property was vacated. As of today, [Date], I have not received [the return of my security deposit/the required itemized list of deductions] in the amount of $[Security Deposit Amount]. According to [State/Country] law, specifically [cite the specific statute or law if applicable], landlords are required to return a tenant’s security deposit within [Number of Days Required by Law] days after the tenant has vacated the property, along with an itemized statement of any deductions, if any.

To my knowledge, there were no damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear, and I have yet to receive any communication regarding deductions from my security deposit. Therefore, I respectfully request the full return of my security deposit in the amount of $[Security Deposit Amount] by [Requested Return Date, giving them a reasonable time frame].

Please remit payment to the following address:

[Your Current Address]

[City, State, Zip Code]

Should there be any reasons for which you believe deductions from my security deposit are warranted, I kindly request an itemized list of such deductions to be sent to me at the above address at your earliest convenience.

I hope to resolve this matter amicably and promptly. However, if I do not receive my security deposit by [Requested Return Date], I will be forced to seek legal remedies, including but not limited to filing a claim in small claims court for the return of the deposit, plus any applicable interest and legal fees as allowed by law.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] should you have any questions or require further information.


[Your Name]

Security Deposit Demand Letter Sample

Dear Westside Rentals Property Management,

I am writing to formally request the immediate return of my security deposit for the apartment I rented at 123 Oak Avenue, Unit 2B, Hometown, CA, from April 1, 20XX, to March 31, 20XX. According to our lease agreement and California state law, I vacated the apartment on March 31, 20XX, ensured it was clean, and returned all keys to the property management office.

It has now been 30 days since the termination of my lease and my departure from the apartment. As of today, March 1, 20XX, I have not received my security deposit of $2,000 nor any itemized statement of deductions, which is required by California Civil Code Section 1950.5.

The condition of the apartment upon my departure was consistent with normal wear and tear, and I documented the apartment’s state with photos, which are available upon request. Given the lack of communication regarding any damages or reasons for withholding my deposit, I respectfully request that the full amount of $2,000 be returned to me by March 15, 20XX.

Please issue a check for the security deposit and mail it to my current address:

789 Pine Street

Hometown, CA 90210

If there are any legitimate deductions that you believe should be taken from my security deposit, please provide an itemized statement detailing these deductions at your earliest convenience.

I value our relationship and hope to resolve this matter swiftly and amicably. However, if the security deposit is not returned by the specified date, I am prepared to pursue all legal avenues to recover the amount due, including filing a claim in small claims court for the deposit amount, plus any applicable interest and legal fees as allowed by California law.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Should you need to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me at (555) 678-1234 or via email at


Emily Thompson


This letter requesting the return of a security deposit is effectively structured and articulately written, emphasizing compliance with legal standards while maintaining a respectful tone. It concisely outlines the situation: the tenant has vacated the apartment, adhering to the terms of the lease and state law, yet has not received the security deposit or any communication regarding deductions within the legally mandated timeframe.

By referencing specific legal requirements—California Civil Code Section 1950.5—and the absence of an itemized statement of deductions, the tenant clearly demonstrates awareness of their rights and the landlord’s obligations. The inclusion of a deadline for the return of the deposit and the request for an itemized statement if deductions were made underscores a desire for transparency and fair dealing.

The tenant’s readiness to provide documentation of the apartment’s condition upon departure and the polite yet firm statement of intent to pursue legal remedies if the deposit is not returned by the specified date strengthen the letter’s position. This approach balances assertiveness about enforcing legal rights with an openness to amicable resolution.

Overall, the letter is a model of how to request the return of a security deposit, combining a clear presentation of facts, reference to relevant laws, and a structured demand for action, all communicated in a tone that seeks resolution while preparing for legal recourse if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my landlord sue me when I take them to court?

Before taking the matter to a small claims court, make sure that you have enough evidence to support your claim. If you left the property in bad condition or if you owe the landlord money, then the landlord might initiate a claim for the damages or the money you owe the landlord to counter your claim for the security deposit.

What will happen to my deposit if my building is sold?

If the landlord decides to sell the property during your lease, they must either refund you the full amount of your security deposit or give it to the new owner.

About This Article

Bryan Brown
Authored by:
Licensed Attorney - Asset Protection, Business Formation, Contract Drafting, Real Estate, Securities, Tax
Bryan Brown is a seasoned attorney with a particular passion for empowering small businesses and startups. His comprehensive suite of services covers crucial areas like Asset Protection, enabling businesses to shield their pivotal assets, and Business Formation, guiding new enterprises through the foundational stages. Bryan's prowess in Contract Drafting ensures that businesses operate on robust agreements, while his insights into Real Estate, Securities, and Tax matters provide a holistic legal framework for clients. With a reputation for thoroughness and dedication, Bryan Brown stands as an invaluable asset for any business aiming to thrive in the Texas environment.

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