A landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within 21 days after they move out. The landlord must include a list of deductions taken from the total deposit. A landlord can only keep the full deposit if the damages and cleaning costs exceed the reasonable wear and tear. A landlord is not allowed to keep the deposit for wear and tear repairs or for problems that existed before the tenant moved in. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit within 21 days, the tenant should send a letter to the landlord explaining why they should have a larger refund. If the tenant and landlord cannot reach an agreement, the tenant may sue the landlord in small claims court as long as the amount is less than $10,000.
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