Landlords can only keep money from the security deposit for damages that are beyond normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear means the declining condition of the rental property that occurs over time, even though the tenant has been regularly cleaning and maintaining the property.
For example, if a tenant left the carpet with stains, dirt and/or rips, then the carpet would have damage beyond normal wear and tear. So, the landlord could deduct carpet cleaning costs from the security deposit. However, if a tenant left the carpet clean with only signs of normal wear and tear, the landlord could not charge for carpet cleaning.
If a tenant does not agree with the deductions made from the security deposit, they should write to the landlord requesting return of the security deposit and the reasons why the deductions are unreasonable. A tenant may not agree with the reason for the deduction or may disagree with the deducted amount. If the landlord and tenant cannot come to an agreement on their own, the tenant can make an application in Alberta Court of Justice Civil or with Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service for return of the security deposit.