In order to survive a challenge to these charges, the landlord needs to establish that the deductions were for things that were necessary and went beyond normal wear and tear. If the landlord cannot establish that and show that they returned the remainder of the deposit, they are not entitled to retain any of the deposit.
If the landlord does not return your deposit within the 30-60 days (depending on the lease) provided by law, you can send them a written demand and then sue for three times the deposit plus any attorney fees and costs incurred in the case.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.
My colleague is correct. A security deposit may only be withheld for damages beyond "normal wear and tear." Carpet cleanings and paintings are generally par for the course in renting property -- as these are things that a landlord is usually obligated to do on his/her own.
If you can prove that the landlord improperly withheld your deposit, then you might consider filing a small claims action against him/her.
DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.