If your landlord has unfairly kept your deposit by making improper deductions or failing to return it within the time specified by your state’s law, it’s time to shift gears. You should send the landlord a letter (return receipt requested) asking for the return of your deposit or what you think your landlord owes you. In the letter, concisely review the main facts, ask for exactly what you want, and explain your legal rights. Conclude by stating that you will promptly sue in small claims court if necessary.
Hopefully, you’ve taken some of the suggestions throughout this chapter (such as nailing down what’s expected in the way of cleaning and taking photos when you leave) so that you can head for court armed with helpful evidence. (For more information on small claims court, see Chapter 13.)