Return Deposit Letter
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Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Sep 28, 2022 9:51 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Lynn [MA]) Sep 28, 2022 10:02 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Sep 28, 2022 10:07 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by WMH [NC]) Sep 28, 2022 10:32 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Dee Ann [WI]) Sep 28, 2022 10:41 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Small potatoes [NY]) Sep 28, 2022 11:41 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Robert J [CA]) Sep 28, 2022 11:47 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Johnny B. [MA]) Sep 29, 2022 6:53 AM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Johnny B. [MA]) Sep 29, 2022 6:56 AM
       Return Deposit Letter (by gevans [SC]) Sep 29, 2022 7:14 AM
       Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Sep 29, 2022 8:50 AM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Steve [MA]) Sep 29, 2022 11:49 AM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Wilma [PA]) Sep 29, 2022 4:11 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Sep 29, 2022 6:09 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by Dee Ann [WI]) Sep 30, 2022 9:39 AM
       Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Sep 30, 2022 9:24 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Oct 3, 2022 7:52 PM
       Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Oct 11, 2022 12:38 AM

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Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Sep 28, 2022 9:51 PM

Hi Everyone, tenants moved out, I tried to get a quote or estimate of the damage in the apartment from 3 different people, they came, take pictures, notes, measurement but and the end I had been calling them several times in a week, they had been really busy bla bla bla, only 1 of them sent me a quote but is general pricing, it does not detail what mean or what is included in that amount, he said 1700 for everything... That is not enough, this is a letter i am preparing with I have spent:

"I am deducting XXX from the security deposit to cover the following:

Wall Dry Hole locate in the kitchen 10in by 10 in Cost $83.46

The small bedroom near the kitchen was painted to remove smoke odor and stains from the window /Door frame- Cost $173.72

Bathroom Vanity Faucet Broken-Cost$ 39.99

Garbage Disposal leaking and broken-Cost$179

Blinds broken, a total of 7 (living Room, Dining Room, and Master Room Closet) $230.86

Big Scratch Floor in Middle Bedroom 3in by 6in-Cost $29.96

Deposit $1895.00

-$736 Material (All previous price is material, i am not calculating labor yet because i don't know...)

-$ 300 Plumbing cost (garbage Disposal and Broken faucet Labor)


The remaining balance of the security deposit is $ XXXX . I am returning that amount along with this letter."

How much should I charge as a LL Labor for all of this? The only thing I am not doing is the plumbing items.

I have all my receipts, do I have to provide them or just if they ask?

I have to deep clean 2 bedrooms too.

If there are things that I am not charging them for because I might consider minor details, should I at least include them as: "we are not charging for these items" just to show we are not trying to nitpick everything?

I tried to google all of these to get an idea of the pricing but it was very confusing, we just don't want to charge too much but not very little either...

The Last Month's Rent +the 5% interest and the remaining deposit, if there is any, should both of them be one check or one check for the Last Month's Rent and another check for any remaining Deposit? Should I send it via certified mail?

I have 2 days or maybe just until tomorrow to complete this and put the checks in the mail, they are living close by if I use the expedite they will get it on Friday which is the last day of the 30 days..

Thanks in advance

Return Deposit Letter (by Lynn [MA]) Posted on: Sep 28, 2022 10:02 PM

I don't think you can charge them for the disposal twice. Also, if it's leaking, its not their fault.

Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Sep 28, 2022 10:07 PM

Lynn I am not charging twice for the disposal, where did you get that impression?

It is 2 years old, the leak was never reported, and damaged the floor of the cabinet, I had tried to reset the garbage disposal, use the L key to move back and forth, plug and plug it and nothing, it is completely dead.

If these were your tenants, how much will you charge as the labor?

Return Deposit Letter (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 28, 2022 10:32 PM

I would eat up the entire deposit if it is below what the guy quoted you and just send the SD letter email if allowed in your state.

I have also been known to return deposits via Venmo, CA or Zelle if that is how the tenant has paid rent. I send the Accounting via Email at the same moment. I haven't had to deduct much for damages for years KNOCK WOOD - usually just blinds, an upcoming water bill maybe...

But you are in MA so I have NO IDEA what your $$##%@^& SD laws are like - they are so different from ours.

Return Deposit Letter (by Dee Ann [WI]) Posted on: Sep 28, 2022 10:41 PM

Hi LordZen:

Do you have an amount for labor in your lease? If not, make it a reasonable amount in case you need to go to court. we have $25/hour in our lease. Then I would estimate the time it would take.

I do list items of damage, cleaning, etc. that I am not charging for, or minor things for the very reason to show you are not nit picking and are being more than reasonable.

I don't provide receipts, but use an *1 (for example) and at the bottom of the entire return I note:

*1 Photos and receipts on file, then keep them in case. I

don't know the laws in MA tho. Can anyone state specific weigh in on this?

If you don't have anything in writing from a plumber, can you call and ask them their hourly rate and approx time it might take to install a faucet and garbage disposal plus their trip charge. Use that amount and ask if they can mail or you can pick up an estimate showing those with tax added.

You can always get that for your records and use the amount. If you feel you need to explain more you can note on the bottom *2 next to the plumbing and on the bottom of the letter under*1 *2 estimate provided by Value Plumbing.

Be sure to take your own pics in case you don't get anything back from contractors.

Hope that helps and makes sense.


Return Deposit Letter (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Sep 28, 2022 11:41 PM

in ny I don't believe I could bill my labor, so I hire things out, but I do have an addendum they sign that lists common charges for things from cleaning to damages and replacing items like light bulbs. so just list the item price as you did, and as long as it's reasonable you shouldn't have an issue if it goes before a judge. also keep good pictures of what you are billing for. I don't think you have to share them w the tenants. in ny I have 14 days to get it in the mail so as ling as it's postmarked in good. MA rules are?

Return Deposit Letter (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Sep 28, 2022 11:47 PM

I don't know about your State, but you can not "guess" at the costs deducted from a deposit. You need to have paperwork to back up your claims if the total deduction is over $100. If you do not comply with this requirement, then you are not allowed to deduct a single penny from a deposit and face up to three times in civil damages.

I am a Licensed California Contractor. When my fellow landlords can not seem to get someone out to give an estimate, it's usually because they waited to the last minute or don't take this seriously.

I have a friend who waited to the 18th day to contact me for an estimate. Not day 1,2,3,5,10 or 12thday, the 18th day out of 21. I told my "friend" that he needed to take and send me picture of the repairs, with a descriptions, and I will review and give an estimate for the Deposit Deductions.

This landlord friend waited until the 20th day and sent me emails with the pictures at 11:30PM, asking for me to send over my estimate before midnight so he wouldn't be in trouble.

I told this "person" that I was willing to do him a favor, but because he decided to wait to the last minutes and wake me up because he procrastinated, like always, I no longer will offer him any of my services such as free advice, recommendations, etc.

Another landlord got estimates and gave them to his tenant, after the fact. Here we are required to have a Pre Move-Out Inspection at least 2 weeks before the tenant moves out. I told this landlord they had to refund the full deposit! They didn't and were sued by the tenant and the tenant got back their $1,000 deposit plus another $2,000 for not following the rules.

A neighbor who owns 2 small properties needed to also get an estimate. I drove her to Home Depot and went to the Pick Up area in the parking lot where contractors are loading stuff onto their trucks. I asked 3 contactors who wants to make $150 for 1 hours time. Writing a repair estimate on their letter head and signing it. I had all 3 interested, but only 1 was free to do it that morning.

You probably want to know why I didn't give my neighbor an estimate. I told him that for $75, I'd give me a real estimate but he was too cheap to agree to the price. He wanted me to deduct that if he gave me any part of the job.

Of course these are only a few jerk crazy stupid landlords out of many. I have a 10 to 1 ratio that a landlords jump at the chance for help. Learn a a lot and how to do a better job once they learn a tenant is moving out. --47.156.xx.xx

Return Deposit Letter (by Johnny B. [MA]) Posted on: Sep 29, 2022 6:53 AM

You cannot charge for LL labor. You can charge for contractor labor though if you hire it out and have receipts. Are the prices you quoted the actual prices that you have receipts to support? You cannot make up estimates.

Return Deposit Letter (by Johnny B. [MA]) Posted on: Sep 29, 2022 6:56 AM

Also, I forgot to mention. Make sure that you followed the security deposit law in Mass perfectly if you are going to retain some/all of the security deposit. If you did not, you risk paying back treble damages to the tenant if they challenge you in court.

Return Deposit Letter (by gevans [SC]) Posted on: Sep 29, 2022 7:14 AM

For states that do not allow the LL to charge for labor:

It is perfectly acceptable for the LL to charge for Son, LLC's labor, or Wife Home Improvement's labor. Keep that in mind.

Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Sep 29, 2022 8:50 AM

Thanks everyone for taking your time to share.

WMH thanks for sharing, I had never used those with the tenants, i use RentHelper for the rent, which is recommended by MassLandlord, but is a good idea to keep in mind these services.

Dee Ann thank you for sharing, no I do not have a labor amount. I have a lot of pictures indeed. Yes that helps very much.

Small Potatoes thanks, yes i have lot of pictures.

Robert J thanks, these prices are not made up, is real prices, i have all the receipts.

Johnny B thanks for sharing, ok that was why i was asking, we did all the job, except for the plumbing, we quoted but we haven't done it yet. Yes they are actual prices from my receipts from Home Depot.

Gevans good to know that, i will read more about that.

Return Deposit Letter (by Steve [MA]) Posted on: Sep 29, 2022 11:49 AM

LZ, check your Email

As others have said if push comes to shove, you're going to have to be able justify the cost of every item that is deducted from their SD especially in MA.

I would think that it would be pretty simple to get prices from some of the FB cleaning people in your area to put this place back into move in condition it was when these tenants move in. As far as the items you bought to make the repairs, you should have the receipts & I thought you Emailed me that your father-in-law was doing the repairs so you should just have him give you a bill.

I don't understand why you're returning their LMR. Were they evicted, left at the end of their lease & forgot to use their LMR or did a "midnight" moveout? You do realize that the 30 day clock starts from when they properly return possession to you which is not necessarily when they stop staying there?

For the future I recommend that you put together a list of common charges of things like damaged / missing screens, light bulbs, SDs, missing / damaged miniblinds, disposal of unwanted furniture, cleaning of appliances, carpet cleaning, painting, etc. If you do this make sure you clearly state that these are the MINUMUM charges. Also make sure that you periodically review & update your list of charges.

Return Deposit Letter (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Sep 29, 2022 4:11 PM

In PA, we have to send a letter within 30 days of the tenants surrendering possession. We DON'T have to have all the work completed or all the bills in by that date. What we CAN do is send details of expenses so far, and estimates for what will be billed upon completion.

We can't charge for our own time, so we have hired our kids (They make up a bill for "A & B Cleaning Service"), their friends whom we trust, and the occasional handyman to take care of anything like cleaning/yard work/drywall damage. We charge for materials only for anything that we personally take care of for one reason or another.

Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Sep 29, 2022 6:09 PM

Steve thanks, reply to your email, very helpful.

Wilma that is a really good idea, my kids are too small tho, so I hired my father-in-law.

Return Deposit Letter (by Dee Ann [WI]) Posted on: Sep 30, 2022 9:39 AM

Would like to know how it all turns out after received. --75.11.xx.xx

Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Sep 30, 2022 9:24 PM

Dee Ann the mail was returned by mail carrier today, they said there is no such address, so i have to wait to receive it back, i called the former tenants and text them, they confirmed the address, they want to come to pick it up.

Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Oct 3, 2022 7:52 PM

Update: Mailed the letter, a mail carrier error didn't make the letter to the destination due to a confusion of ST and AVE... I have the proof of that, so they didn't get it on Friday as they were supposed (I informed the former tenants about it), I got reimbursed for the expedited mailing, I didn't receive it on Friday, therefore went to the Post Office on Saturday and got it (also informed the former tenants, they said will pick it up Saturday and came by on Sunday), tell the tenants about it and they came to pick it up, printed extra papers and make sure they both signed and explained every paperwork since English is not their 1st Language, they took it normal, no arguments but I think they didn't understand everything so I am expecting a push back soon...

Return Deposit Letter (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Oct 11, 2022 12:38 AM

Update: There hasn't been any push back...

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