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I moved from my apartment more than a month ago, but my landlord has not returned my security deposit. What can I do?

Your landlord has thirty days after you give your forwarding address to return your security deposit, with a written explanation of any deductions made. If your landlord withholds the whole deposit, the landlord must send you an itemized list of deductions that equal or exceed your deposit.

If your landlord does not return your deposit within thirty days or makes deductions from the security deposit that you disagree agree with, you can take your landlord to Small Claims Court in the city where the rental property is located.

A tenant may sue to recover twice the amount of the security deposit in the Small Claims Court. The landlord can file a counterclaim against the former tenant for any unpaid rent or charges, or property damage to the unit in this same case.

The court will schedule a hearing to decide if the landlord improperly withheld the security deposit and how much money, if any, one party owes the other.

Online tools can help tenants prepare court documents to sue a former landlord for return of the tenant’s security deposit. Go to and look for “Return of Security Deposit.”

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