Writing a Security Deposit Refund Letter from Landlord [with Samples]

Being a landlord requires that everything is in order with the books. There are laws in each state that govern what landlords can and cannot do and charge. One of the most important things to a landlord is the security deposit.

This money stands in good faith that the tenant will live in the rental, and they will abide by the rules for the specific period of time. It also stands as confirmation that if they don’t follow the lease, the landlord can take a portion of the deposit to cover repairs, vacancy loss and other fees incurred.

Once a tenant has moved out, most states give the landlord thirty days to return the security deposit, or a written explanation why it is being withheld. The letter must be postmarked on the 30th day, or interest can be charged to the landlord on the refunded portion of the money.

forwarding address

It is important to have the tenant’s new address, which may be difficult if they leave under difficult terms. However, most people that don’t leave a forwarding address are probably not expecting to get money returned to them.

In this instance, the letter should be sent to the last known address and there should be a forward from the mail system that will get it to them.

If the refund letter is going to give them back their full deposit, there is no need for an explanation. If there is a need to deduct money for carpet cleaning or other repairs make sure to attach pictures or recipes to prove that this work was done.

landlord tenant laws

Landlord tenant laws can get pretty picky and it is best to make sure some form of documentation is provided.

Since this is an official letter, it should have a good form but it doesn’t have to be overly formal. It can be addressed to the tenant by first name, no need for sir or madam.

first paragraph

The first paragraph should state the rental address, the dates of their tenancy and the security deposit amount. If they were good tenants, be sure to praise them for taking good care of the property etc.

They may use this letter to help them rent another place in the future. If the tenants had a few damages, then the second paragraph is where this needs to be detailed.

If the tenants were horrible and now owe even more money, be sure to send it certified mail, as this may go to court. There is a sample refund letter below and how to handle when the tenant owes money from the deposit.

Sample 1 – Letter To Return The Security Deposit

Janet and Winston Marcus
90 Piles Lane
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

October 12, 2020

Crystal Phillips
71 Limestone Blvd
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

Re: Return of security deposit

Dear Crystal,

This letter concerns your security deposit in the amount of $1,000 for the premises located at 70 E. Main Street in Chillicothe during your lease period of September 15, 2018 thru September 15, 2020.

I am including your entire security deposit along with this letter.

It was a pleasure having you as a tenant. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 555-779-2193.

Sincerely,

Winston Marcus
Enclosures: Refund Check

Sample 2 – Letter Of Security Deposit Partial Refund

Janet and Winston Marcus
90 Piles Lane
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

October 12, 2020

Crystal Phillips
71 Limestone Blvd
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

Re: Return of security deposit

Dear Crystal,

This letter is in regards to the security deposit of $1,000 that was placed on our rental contract dated September 15, 2018. The rental home was located at 70 E. Main Street in Chillicothe.

I want to thank you for taking good care of the property, always paying your rent on time and making sure the home was in great condition for showing potential buyers.

While the home was in good condition, there are a few charges that I must deduct from the security deposit. First, your contract said that you would be out by September 15th and that you would give a 30 day notice to vacate the premises. 

I only received 10 days’ notice that you were leaving, and thus I have been left to suffer from vacancy loss.

The state of Ohio allows me to charge up to one month of vacancy loss. You paid a pro-rated rent amount of only $500, when I was entitled to the full months’ rent. 

Because of this, I must deduct $500 from the deposit. I have attached your letter to vacate the premises as proof that the property was left before the lease was officially over.

There were a few other damages in the home. I needed to replace the living room, bedroom and kitchen blinds. The total cost for this was $150.58. I also had to repaint the kids bedroom. 

Because you only lived there for one year and it was painted prior to move in, I must make you 50% responsible for the new paint job.

The paint estimate was $258.09 and I will charge you $124.08. In total, I am deducting $774.66 from the $1,000 to cover the damages and insufficient rent payment. 

A refund in the amount of $225.34 is enclosed. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 555-779-2193.

Sincerely,

Winston Marcus
Enclosures

Sample 3 – Not Refunding Security Deposit Letter

Janet and Winston Marcus
90 Piles Lane
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

October 12, 2020

Crystal Phillips
71 Limestone Blvd
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

Dear Crystal,

This letter concerns your security deposit in the amount of $1,000 for the premises located at 70 E. Main Street in Chillicothe during your lease period of September 15, 2018 thru September 15, 2020.

I will not be returning your security deposit because of multiple holes in the carpet in the family room and a broken window in the master bedroom. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 555-779-2193.

Regards,

Winston Marcus