What action should I take if my landlord unjustly keeps my deposit?

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What action should I take if my landlord unjustly keeps my deposit?

My landlord is not giving me any of my security deposit $800 as well as a $800 for a dog deposit. It took him over a month to even tell me that he was not going to give it back. He sent me a list of damages that do not make sense (only 100 he says is in dog damage). I left the house in really great condition, and most of what he is charging, I think is normal wear and tear, was all ready there, or his responsibility. Instead of paying someone to come and clean the house he gave himself 90 hours of cleaning an all ready spotless house. charged me .50 per mile he drove (lives like an hour away) and an expensive lunch every day he was out there. I sincerely feel that much of his list is unlawful and extreme. I did everything that is in the lease and he charged me above and beyond what was expected. There is really a lot more to it then that (picture of the pool he sent with a big hole cut out of it, the well water quality, his all ready broken lawnmower), but I don’t know if I can put it all down in words. I would appreciate any help you can give, Thanks I feel that there is at least $1000 on this list that I can disprove in small claims court

Asked on September 16, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your best bet is to file an action in small claims in the County in which the landlord lives. Your cause of action is a return of security. The burden of proof for you is to show that you gave himsecurity and then requested a return in writing of the security. He will then have to prove his claim for each of the damages that he is seeking. Normal wear and tear and incidental housecleaning and painting is not sufficient. There has to be more proof of damages such as big holes in the walls, stains on the carpet or broken applicances. If you took pictures before you moved out, you should bring them with you to court along with any witnesses who help you moved to testify to the condition of the place when you left.


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