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Security Deposit for a Lease

Download forms related to the holding and return of a security deposit for a residential lease, including letters to indicate deductions from the deposit, demand for return of the deposit and causes of action for the same.


The security deposit consists of any money which the landlord holds on behalf of the tenant to protect himself from unpaid rent or damage to the apartment. State laws, which vary by state, govern security deposits.The tenant may not defeat the purpose of the deposit by using it as the last month's rent. All security deposits are refundable. The landlord should inform the tenant in advance about the conditions under which he or she will refund your deposit.

The landlord can't automatically take the deposit because the tenant breaches the lease. The landlord can only take compensation for his damages. A tenant should always get a receipt for the deposit, although it can be written into the lease.

Upon the vacating of the premises for termination of the lease, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit, the landlord typically has a defined time period to return the security deposit together with interest if otherwise required, or the landlord shall have a certain period to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant's last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim. State law specifies how the landlord may keep the tenant's deposit money. If he or she puts it in an interest-bearing account, then he or she usually must pay the tenant interest.

A tenant should ask to accompany the landlord when he or she inspects your apartment's condition upon moving in and moving out. The most common problem in recovering a security deposit is proving the condition upon moving out in comparison with moving in. Therefore, it is advisable to take photos and have witnesses who are not tenants examine the apartment and sign statements about its condition.

Relevant legal forms include:

  • Complaint - Lessor Failure to Return Security Deposit
  • Addendum to Apartment Lease - Security Deposit
  • Letter - To Tenant In Response To A Challenge To The Security Deposit Refund
  • Landlord Tenant Closing Statement - Reconcile Security Deposit
  • Letter - Landlord to Tenant - Returning Security Deposit Less Deductions
  • Letter - Tenant to Landlord - Notice of Failure to Return Security Deposit and Demand for Return
  • Letter - Tenant to Landlord - Notice of Wrongful Deductions from Security Deposit and Demand for Return