How do I get my security deposit back?

You can only request your full security deposit after you move out.

  • Before you move out
    • Send landlord a letter with the date that you are moving. Most leases
      require 30 day notice before leaving. Keep a copy.
    • Leave the unit as clean as possible.
    • Take pictures of each room.
    • Do a walkthrough, if possible.
  • After you move out
    • Return the keys to the landlord in person or by certified mail.
    • Send landlord a Security Deposit Request Letter (download sample). Keep a copy.
    • Your landlord has 30 days to respond to your request in writing.
      • If you disagree with your landlord’s response, you can sue for
        the amount of your security deposit.
      • If your landlord does not respond at all, you can sue for two times the amount of your security deposit.

How do I sue for my security deposit?

Be careful! Before you sue your landlord, be sure that you do not owe for rent or
damages higher than your security deposit.  Here is the process:

  • Go to Municipal Court at 1339 Chestnut Street, 10th floor
  • Ask to File a Small Claims Complaint. State how much money you are
    claiming. Include exhibits such as the lease and request letter.
  • Ask to File a Petition to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP). If the IFP is
    granted, you will not have to pay filing fees.  Download sample.
  • Choose type of service. Pay a service fee or choose private service, which
    means a person who is over 21 and not a family member must serve the court
    papers on the landlord.