It's true that landlords will often find not-so-legitimate reasons to keep a security deposit, but sometimes they have actual legitimate reasons.
Here are 17 of the replies I got:
1. "After we got married and got our first apartment together, we adopted a cat. Apparently the cat had never seen carpet before in his life because he went ape on it — pulling it up with his claws in a corner of every room. He'd been doing it for a while before we caught him, and by that time damage had been done. It's impossible to protect every corner of an apartment and keep an eye on a pet at all times. When we realized that, we considered our security deposit gone."
"We've never lived anywhere with carpet since." —omegarose
2. "We had these ridiculously heavy, wooden blinds in the front of the house. To open them, I would legitimately pull the cord and LEAN BACK with my weight. So, I'm doing this one time, and they finally break. I hit the floor; the blinds are ripped from the wall. I'm sitting there with blinds and bits of drywall on me, and my landlord pops open the door for a showing that I forgot about."
"Behind me in the mess I had created was my roommate's fluffy cat, sitting and making eye contact with the landlord. The cat that was explicitly not allowed on the premises. The cat we forgot to hide before the showing we forgot about.
There was no deposit left for us after that." —sarawalsh09
3. "I’ve actually lived in my apartment almost two years, but only realized there’s no way a few weeks back after seeing my cat has been stretching and scratching just about every square inch of my walls. 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️ Maybe they won’t notice?"
4. "I adopted a puppy when I was living in an apartment. Huge mistake. She peed and/or tore holes in the carpet if I turned my head for one second. She’s 5 now and a good girl, but I swore then to never, ever get a puppy again."
5. "When we got a new mattress and took the old one out we discovered our dog, when he was a puppy, had gone under the bed and chewed a giant hole in the carpet. We still live there, so I'm hoping we can sneakily patch it somehow. 👀"
6. "We had a golden retriever that was about 1 year old at the time we moved into the rental. She had separation anxiety while being crated. We had the crate in a guest bedroom and came back from dinner one night to find she had tore up the carpet underneath her crate in the bedroom, through her crate pan AND area rug. That was enough for us to know, but our dog kept going."
"Her crate was then moved into another space with a new crate pan and, sure enough, she did the same thing...tore up the carpet under her crate in a second room.
So we tried leaving her out of the crate one evening in an area we could close a door in. What did she do? She ATE THE PATIO DOOR FRAME. That was an expensive one. It cost us our deposit PLUS some.
That money went *poof* really quickly." —ericam40acbfd74
7. "I recently discovered my rabbit has been digging at and pulling up the carpet underneath my couch! I just renewed my lease for two more years so I'm hoping when I eventually move out they won't charge me because hopefully they replace the carpet after a tenant has lived there a while anyway, but I'm not holding my breath."
8. "So I had a friend come over, and after a while he had to use the bathroom. He came out of the bathroom looking like a different person. I have no idea what drug he took, but he started going nuts. He then proceeds to punch the window on my front door and broke the glass. Blood everywhere. Police come, ambulance comes because the neighbor called. They had to strap him onto the gurney because he was thrashing about so much. I got an eviction notice on my door the next day. This was eight years ago, and I had extremely questionable friends. Needless to say, didn’t get that security deposit back. Have no clue what happened to that guy. Good times."
9. "Probably would have to be when one of my guy friends got pretty drunk, tried to do a handstand, and went a little too far back. His butt went straight through the drywall and left a good-sized hole in it."
11. "My best friend and I lived with another girl my junior year of college. We had a somewhat decent college apartment with one of the leasing companies in our town. We had minor issues such as some paint chips or some stains in the carpet. Our third roommate had two cats living with us and they sure did a number on the place, but we loved them anyways. One morning after a long night hanging out together in the apartment, we noticed a hole in our kitchen island. None of us remembered how it got there or what it was from. It was quite a big hole too. I sat on the barstool and put my knee up to the hole. It was a perfect match."
12. "It was the day my fiancé and I moved into to our first place together. To celebrate, we had both of our parents over to cook out. Everything was going great until we received a text from the landlord, who also lived next door, to move our grill away from the house. Lo and behold, the vinyl siding of the house was completely melted. Safe to say from day one we knew we weren’t getting our security deposit back. The annoying part though is we offered to fix it, even had a company come out and quote us, but the landlord wanted to 'do it himself'… AKA he got more money out of the security deposit than having us just fix it."
13. "In my first apartment, I was ironing some clothes on the floor as I didn’t have an ironing board. I accidentally left the hot iron face down on the carpet while I ran an errand. After coming home to an iron-shaped burn in the carpet, I tried to fix it using some carpet from one of the closets. It didn’t fool anyone so I lost that deposit."
14. "My new landlord was a jerk...racist, misogynistic, condescending. Lived in the apartment for six years under one landlord until the building was sold to this guy. Rent more than doubled, and we were responsible for our own maintenance — what was I paying this guy for? So I moved out ASAP. But first, I dumped cans of tuna all over the apartment after my stuff was out. He didn't do his inspection for weeks, and it was summertime. Petty, yes. Worth it? Also yes."
15. "Man, I had a scummy apartment landlord who tried to blame ME and make me pay $1,200 because the pipe in the apartment above mine broke and flooded my apartment twice in two weeks, wrecking the floors and walls. Fought that charge, but totally lost on the blinds and repainting. Valid."
"My cat got stuck in the blinds once chasing a bird...no way to fix that one.
I lived there three years, and painted the walls. They said I could repaint them with this one specific type of paint. I went out and bought $60 worth (two giant gallons). It's actually flat white ceiling paint, and the associate at Sherwin Williams was like, 'Are you sure this is what they said?' and I showed her the email where I asked what I should paint with. It was water thin. I painted the bathroom. It took SIX COATS [with a] 30-minute dry time between each and half a gallon for a tiny sliver of wall between the shower and the door (no more than 3'x8'). And even then it looked terrible. Completely gave up and left the rest of the walls as is." —brightkiwi
16. "I knew I wasn’t getting my deposit back because I was the one who was going to be living in it."
17. "Two things: a) I moved out early, so to save electrical I wasn't using I unplugged the fridge. I didn't know you were supposed to keep the door open to air out. When I peeked inside on the last day of the lease there was mold growing everywhere inside. b) I had put up stick-on wallpaper that was supposed to be easy to remove. However, when I attempted to remove it, it also took off the paint on the wall. Oops! I ended up pushing it back onto the wall before I left — I'm sure they weren't too happy to discover that."
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.