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Other than filing a claim in small claims court, you could also contact the NY State Dept of Law, headed by the Attorney General. They accept tenant complaints involving security deposits. After a tenant files a complaint, the Attorney General will contact the landlord, providing him/her with the opportunity to reply. The Attorney General's approach is to mediate a resolution by informing the landlord of the obligations of the law and the Attorney General's authority to enforce the law. A landlord who has no damage claim against a former tenant, and who is merely trying to keep the deposit, may respond to this pressure. You can reach the Attorney General at(###) ###-####