Q: My family of four recently moved out of a three-bedroom house that we had been renting for more than two years. Unfortunately, the landlord took a while to return my $3,500 security deposit, and he also deducted $518 for "repair and cleaning." The landlord claims that "repair" is for things that were beyond normal wear and tear, such as handprints on the walls and furniture marks where it touched the walls. I would expect those things to fall under normal wear and tear. However, the landlord did not even itemize how the money was spent. I should note that when we moved in, the house badly needed painting, as it looked like it had not been painted in nearly 10 years. What are my rights in finding out how my money was spent, and what should my next step be? A: You should send a written demand letter asking for copies of all receipts for labor and materials to support the deductions. You are entitled to understand what the reasons were for the $518 tha...
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