No Security Deposit Letter for tenant who never had security dep

4 Replies

So I inherited a tenant to was on a verbal lease with $0 rent and $0 security deposit. I gave them notice and did cash for keys to get them to move our early! So far so good!

Wisconsin requires a landlord return a security deposit in 21 days or send a letter explaining why no deposit will be given. I briefly talked to a lawyer who suggested strongly that I still send a letter to the tenant's last known address (since they declined to give me their forwarding address). He said this would prevent the tenant from later claiming I didn't send a letter and then claiming they are owed a security deposit.

I'm looking for assistance on the wording of this letter. The advice I was given is to say that I believe there is no security deposit and even if there were it would not be returned for reasons x, y, and z. The unit was in pretty bad shape and requires all new flooring, they closed off a closet in one bedroom to make a bigger closet in another bedroom, very messy (not even close to broom swept).

Can anyone help with or have samples of some "no security deposit will be given" letters?

@Jason Bilbrey I don’t have a specific letter, but I would just list out the costs after move-out and a total price. Then list security deposit $0.

Send that. I wouldn’t say anything about $0 due, obviously he’s not going to pay and you’re not going to try to collect... just leave it open ended.

If (which it won’t) and up in court, you can easily say that ‘hey, he owes $$$) per the letter.

@Jason Bilbrey   How do you know there was a verbal lease? Did the tenant tell you? Or are you just amusing there is one because you don't have the physical document? If the latter, I would send a certified letter to the tenant asking him/her to provide you with a copy of the current lease. If he/she declines to provide one, then move forward with your cash for keys, provide a basic letter outlining the outgoing terms and leave it at that. I would definitely make it priority one to make sure there isn't a physical lease in existence. 

@Jason Bilbrey I would take the advice of your lawyer and send the letter. As far as the wording goes just keep it short and to the point. I do not think there is a way you can screw this up, but if you are nervous about the wording ask your attorney. He may have a boiler plate template he provides clients in these situations.