What If My Landlord Won't Return My Security Deposit?


A landlord is required by law to either refund your deposit or send you an itemized list in writing of charges that have been assessed against your deposit within 30 days of the day you move out, turn in your keys and provide a forwarding address.

Assuming you turned in your keys and provided a forwarding address over 30 days ago, I recommend sending a letter to the owner and/or manager by certified mail, return receipt requested, demanding your deposit back. If the landlord provided a written list of charges to you within 30 days of when you moved out, you should explain in your letter why those charges are not valid. (If the landlord did not send you anything in writing within 30 days of when you moved out, you should be entitled to your entire deposit back.) You may want to give the landlord a deadline, such as 10 days, to return your deposit to you before you will consider pursuing legal action. Make sure the letter is signed and dated, and keep a copy for yourself.

If the landlord wrongfully withholds any of your deposit, you may be entitled to three times the amount of the deposit wrongfully withheld plus $100 if you end up having to go to small claims court to get your deposit back.

For more information about getting your security deposit back, here is a link to the Texas Tenant Advisor website: http://www.texastenant.org/rights/securitydeposit/gettingback/gettingback.html

The counseling on this page should not be considered conclusive or a substitute for legal advice. Special facts can render broad statements inapplicable. Anyone needing legal assistance should contact an attorney.

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TEXAS TENANTS'
BILL OF RIGHTS:

I. Freedom From Wrongful Eviction or Lockout

Prop. Sec. 24.005
Prop. Sec. 92.0081

II. Freedom From Wrongful Disconnection of Utilities
Prop. Sec. 92.008

III. Freedom From Wrongful Seizure of Property
Prop. Sec. 54.041

IV. Right to Repairs
Prop. Sec. 92.052

V. Right to Working Security Devices and Smoke Detectors
Prop. Sec. 92.153
Prop. Sec. 92.258

VI. Right to Disclosure of Owner and Management
Prop. Sec. 92.201

VII. Right to Escape Family Violence
Prop. Sec. 92.015
Prop. Sec. 92.016

VIII. Right to Vacate for Military Service
Prop. Sec. 92.017

IX. Right to Refund of Security Deposit or Application Deposit
Prop. Sec. 92.102
Prop. Sec. 92.351

X. Freedom From Retaliation
Prop. Sec. 92.331