How To Get Security Deposit Back From Landlord

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

How To Make Sure Your Security Deposit Is Returned

A security deposit is almost always required when you rent an apartment, condo, or house. At the end of your lease, the landlord returns the security deposit in optimal situations, and unfortunately, this is not always the case. You will want to know from the landlord in this situation.

Understanding renter's rights can be confusing. You might not know , how long your landlord has to issue the refunded security deposit, or if you can sue in the case that the deposit isn't repaid.

Luckily there is an easier way to address all of your renter's rights, including filing complaints against landlords and obtaining your security deposit.

How to Protect Your Deposit

Every state has differing security deposit laws, but there are some steps that you can take as a renter to help protect your money.

  1. Research how much your state allows a landlord to take as a security deposit. Most states cap security deposits at one to two times the monthly rent.
  2. Many states require a landlord to submit a move-in statement. In the statement, the landlord details any damage to the property. Both the landlord and the renter sign the statement.
  3. If there is no move-in statement, you can request for one or thoroughly inspect the rental yourself and request the landlord sign the document.
  4. Taking photos or videos of the rental at the time of move-in can help protect your deposit when you leave the rental.
  5. Many states require a landlord to notify a tenant of a move-out inspection. The tenant has the opportunity to be there for the inspection.
  6. Tenants should take photos and videos to document conditions when they move out.

Security Deposit Laws

Although the laws differ depending on where you rent, some general laws tend to stay the same across the board.

How Can a Landlord Use a Security Deposit?What Can the Landlord Not Use a Security Deposit For?
  • Compensation for unpaid rent
  • Cleaning the rental
  • Compensation to cover repair costs that occurred while the tenant was occupying the unit
  • Repairs that existed before the tenant moved in
  • Most states do not allow a landlord to deduct normal wear and tear from the security deposit. Normal wear and tear include things like worn flooring or smudged paint.

How to Get Your Security Deposit Back on Your Own

States vary in the length of time the landlord has to return a security deposit, and it differs from two weeks to 60 days. It is critical to provide the landlord with a current address to send you the money easily.

  1. Contact the landlord with an itemized deduction displaying how much of your deposit you are entitled to.
  2. If the landlord does not return the security deposit after the state-allocated time, send a demand letter. The letter should include copies of all documentation, a timeframe for returning your money, and a state security deposit laws citation.
  3. If the landlord does not return your security deposit after the length of time stated in the demand letter, you can sue them in small claims court.

How to Get Your Security Deposit Back Using DoNotPay

People work hard for their money, and having it withheld from you is extremely frustrating. If you took care of your rental and the landlord won't return your security deposit, you are likely to feel aggravated. You might not know where to begin to recover the money.

If you want to get your security deposit back but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 4 easy steps:

  1. Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.

  2. Select which issue applies to you.

  3. Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.

  4. Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.

And that's it! You should hear back from your landlord directly once your demands are sent.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay makes getting a a breeze, and they are quick, stress-free, and successful. Even better, security deposit refunds are only one of the many things DoNotPay makes easy.

If you have other issues with a landlord, DoNotPay is here to help. For example, if you need repairs but do not know what your landlord is responsible for or how to ask, DoNotPay makes the process simple. If you face eviction or your landlord didn't give you notice, DoNotPay has you covered. DoNotPay can even help you kick out a roommate.

DoNotPay is the place to go for a plethora of everyday grievances. Life is already hard so let DoNotPay make some of your frustrations easier.

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