When is my Security Deposit Due? – Residential Tenancy
Tenants often wonder when their security deposit must be returned after leaving a rental unit. Typically, the security deposit must be returned within thirty days following surrender of the property. Surrender of the property can be different from the end of the lease. The landlord is allowed to deduct damages and charges for which the tenant is liable from the security deposit or for breach of the lease. Security deposits cannot be withheld for normal wear and tear.
Additionally, the landlord should provide the tenant with an itemized list of deductions unless the tenant owes rent when the property is surrendered and there is no dispute regarding the amount of rent owed. The notice and security deposit must be post-marked by the deadline date. However, the landlord has no obligation to return the security deposit or provide a written description of damages until the tenant provides a forward mailing address.
A tenant is not allowed to substitute the security deposit for the last month’s rent. Tenants are subject to damages three times the amount of rent wrongfully withheld.
A landlord who fails to follow the security deposit rules can be liable for three times the security deposit wrongfully withheld, attorney’s fees, and $100. The burden of proof is on the landlord to prove that withholding a portion of the security deposit was reasonable.
The applicable code provisions regarding security deposits for residential tenancies include Texas Property Code §§ 92.101-92.109.
Robert Newton is an attorney based in Frisco, Texas, that practices real estate law, business law, corporate law, and estate planning. This post is meant for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.