Houston, TX asked in Landlord - Tenant for Texas

Q: Can I sue a landlord if I haven't received the security deposit after 30 days? Or do I need to wait 10 days afterwards?

I would like to know if I need to take the mailbox rule in account.

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I recommend considering "the mailbox rule" in your calculation.

While there is a presumption that a landlord is acting in bad faith if it does not refund a security deposit within thirty days, it is a rebuttable presumption. Which means that if the landlord mailed it, you sue, and then receive the security deposit a few days later in the mail, you will likely lose the lawsuit and be out your court filing fee.

The most critical piece of evidence is that you provided to your landlord in writing your forwarding address for purposes of issuing the security deposit refund. The Property Code is specific on this point and cases involving the wrongful retention of a security deposit by a landlord often turn on this particular point.

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