My question involves a security deposit in the State of: Virginia
We moved from Alaska to Virginia in July of 2007. We found a house over the internet and did not see it before we moved in. We agreed to pay 45 extra a month because we had 5 dogs (we ran them while in Alaska), and 1 indoor dog. We had problems with the house and the landlord from, literally, the first day. All of our problems don't pertain to this problem except one.
A week after moving in, we realized we had ants. LOTS of them. We left him a message on his cell phone stating that we were going to have pest control come out and gave him a few days to return our call and tell us different, if he didn't agree. He never called, so we started having them come out, which they did for the whole time we were there. After we had been there 11 months, he called and said he was going to raise the rent. I told him we would move out. He called again and said he would raise it less if we stayed. I said "No thanks". We found a new place and signed a lease. The current landlord came by the house and asked us to stay for less of an increase in rent. We said that we had already signed a new lease, so no. He asked us to stay a little longer then, so he could have time to get out of his lease. We agreed to do this (my husband is a very nice man), so we payed on 2 weeks at the old and new house. After we were out, our landlord refused our calls. We tried repeatedly, but he would not discuss our security deposit. My husband finally got a hold of him and he said that because we had an indoor dog (which he already knew about) he was charging us $100 extra a month for the 12 months we were there. He also said that he didn't feel he should have paid for the pest control, so he is taking the $35.00 a month for the 11 months out of the deposit. When my husband said that he needed to give us it in writing and he hung up my husband.
I will add that, while we lived there, we painted the interior of the house and didn't not ask to be reimbursed. The walls had such a terrible quality paint on them that I couldn't keep them clean. Upon moving out, we had the carpets professionally cleaned and cleaned the house to a standard not met when we moved in.
Obviously, we do not feel our landlord's actions are right or fair and want our $1500 back. We know that small- claims court is probably our best bet, but what are the odds of us winning? If we do win, are we allowed to ask for a little more to cover our fees?
Thank you for your input.