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How to recover your security deposit?

My sister called the other day asking me to accompany her to her
previous landlord's home to collect her security deposit. It has been
over 15 days and she has not received the cheque her landlord says was
mailed weeks ago. My sister was already highlighting excerpts from
tenant-landlord document she downloaded online which states she can
set collection agencies once 15 days of non-payment have elapsed or
report her to the City for breaking the agreement.

I said I would go with her to help out. My sister had already left a
voicemail telling her landlord she was coming that night. Apparently,
her landlord was hard to get a hold of and last time she did talk to
her landlord, she was told that the cheque was in the mail.

We didn't wait long at the door and when she did answer, we had our
chat. Her landlord said the the mail was probably on the way and she
wanted to make sure cheque wasn't cashed. I stopped her immediately
saying that if we have not received it in 2-3 days, it was lost. I
asked her cancel the cheque and provide cash instead. She had no time
to go to her office for another cheque or go to the bank to withdraw
cash because she had a 2 year old. She was busy the next day as well,
and the only time we can meet again is by calling ahead of time.

This is what I did:
1) I asked nicely if she could expect my call at 8pm the day after
tomorrow. She said ok.
2) I called at 8pm and she said that she had the cash with her. I made
another appointment to pickup the next day by calling first thing at
9am.
3) I called at 9am and was told I can pickup. Drove over and knocked
on the door.
4) She handed me my sister's security deposit minus a quarter of the
total for expenses incurred cleaning the carpet. Whatever.

I suspect it was more out of spite for the nasty voicemail my sister
left her saying she would report her landlord if she didn't get her
deposit back. Always play nice, give people schedules to follow, and
deliver on your promise for call-back. I think people get defensive
when given ultimatums.

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