After assessing the damage and repairing most of it, we figured that we had a case for not refunding any of their deposit. When we take into account the damage to the 4 month old carpet (badly burned in several places), and the fact that we may well have to replace the sliding glass door -- that had worked perfectly the entire time we were in the house -- due to having a completely broken off handle, our real and estimated expenses exceed the deposit by over $1,000.00!
However, they are choosing to dispute nearly everything and are asking us to only accept $700.00 or $800.00; and are threatening to take us to court. I have already increased the amount we are on the hook for since I've left a voice mail for our lawyer. I am not going to approach court on this without legal representation, and am sorely tempted to ask for all of the damage, including replacing the door and carpet, as well as legal fees if they pursue this. Of course, there is also part of me that wants to just pay them what is left of their deposit after our realized expenses and try to make this go away.
After this experience, I don't think I want to even think about renting out any more property and am even more ready to just get the house to go away.
I'll also admit I'm starting to really feel that we are being punished for making a bad decision to get a new job. It is feeling like nothing has gone right since we moved -- which isn't really true.
I'm just not sure where to go from here.