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I am sorry to hear about this. The landlord is allowed to keep the deposit for any damage "beyond normal wear and tear" of the property post-move out. The issue is that landlords frequently exaggerate the damage and/or the costs needed to clean it.
The problem is that the withholding of the deposit is presumed to be correct
unless the former tenant challenges it. So, it is up to the tenant to challenge it by going to SMALL CLAIMS COURT, asking for the deposit back. Then, the Court decides on whether or not the amount was proper to withhold. It is important in these cases to take photos before moving out and if this was done, this would be helpful. If not, then it is basically tenant's word versus the landlord and the Judge makes a decision going off oral testimony as well as any other evidence.
. Often, a letter threatening suit is enough to come to an agreement, since the landlord may with to avoid going to court.
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