Tenants must often provide the landlord with a security deposit when entering into a lease agreement. The security deposit can be used by the landlord to pay for unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, or damage beyond normal wear and tear when the tenant moves out. A landlord must send the tenant an itemized list of damages detailing how the security deposit money was spent or asking the tenant to pay any remaining balance. If the landlord has kept your security deposit and not shown you an itemized list of damages, contact him requesting that he send the money back or provide you with an itemized damage list.
Notify the landlord in writing of your forwarding address. State laws, such as Michigan’s landlord-tenant laws, require the tenant to notify the landlord of a forwarding address within a certain number of days after the move out (four days in Michigan). Failure to do so could relieve the landlord of her duty to provide an itemized list of damages.
Wait the prescribed period of time given by law for the landlord to send out an itemized list of damages. In Texas and Michigan, for instance, a landlord has 30 days to send out an itemized list of damages.
Address the letter to the landlord’s attention. Explain that you are a former tenant; list your former address and the date you moved out.
Ask for the return of your security deposit or an itemized list of damages. Use language such as “It has been more than 30 days since I moved out, and I have not received my security deposit or an itemized list of damages. Please provide an itemized list of damages or return my security deposit.”
Indicate how you intend to follow up. Provide a timeline. For example, you could state that if you do not hear back from the landlord within 10 days you will use any legal remedies available to you.
Print the letter on professional-grade paper. Sign and date the letter. Send it to the landlord.
Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.