You're both, of course, 100% correct some unknown percentage of the time. Some owners are arses, as are some tenants. My last tenant got her entire security deposit back 6 days (with interest, per law here) after she vacated the property. One of the blinds was broken (the pull cord), but I had no evidence that was *her* fault (could be normal breakage...the blinds appeared to be in good shape, but I bought the place with them in there, so I don't know how old they are) and it cost me only $35 to replace anyway. The rest of the stuff I did (painting and replacing the closet doors) were either normal maintenance or something that I knew was broken but hadn't gotten around to fixing yet because it was functional enough. I put the security deposit in a separate savings account and don't touch it unless I need to. Plus, I have NO carpet to clean, and that's 100% intentional.
I wouldn't hesitate to charge for major damage or filth (or unpaid rent), but normal stuff is normal stuff, and factoring maintenance into your bottom line is part of your JOB as a landlord.
But I've had the terrible landlord before. I lived in one complex where I was warned they would not only charge me for cleaning the carpets, but charge me double the actual cost. So, I had the carpets cleaned the day I moved out, after all my stuff was loaded up. They STILL tried to charge me nearly 3x what I paid to have the carpets cleaned. I wrote them a letter demanding they provide evidence the service was necessary, and they sent me pictures OF AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT APARTMENT. They ended up giving me 2x my security deposit back in court (plus court fees, but those weren't much) because they refused to back down on that (and other ridiculous charges). Small claims is pretty easy provided you keep good records (easier than ever with cell phone cameras that automatically time and date stamp photos...if you want to be REALLY careful, take your photos RIGHT before you hand the keys over, and then take a photo of you handing the keys over), and there's usually a steep penalty for landlords who unjustly withhold security deposit funds (usually 2-3x what the tenant is owed).
I've also LIVED with the terrible tenant. Unfortunately, in that case, the roommates got to mop up the mess (we didn't want to trash our credit), but she'd be a REAL joy to have as a sole tenant. /snark
Also, Member, I got their "credit inquiry explanation letter" form today, and they only needed explanation for inquiries within the last 4 months. If you're at all worried about it, it looks like that's your time frame to abstain from other inquiries. As it stood, all they needed me to do is check a box ("I opened a new account") and give them the latest statement for the account. I asked the loan officer "why 4 months" and she said that sometimes the new account won't pop up on your credit report for a few months, and if it didn't, they need to include it in your DTI calculation. Basically, NBD so long as you keep your debt low. Just be cautious how much is on the card at your statement date.
ALSO, I learned a little about mortgage credit scoring models. Basically, they weight PREVIOUS mortgage history more heavily. Let's just say that, given that little nugget, *those* scores are astoundingly high for me. Like, 30+ points higher than my general consumer credit score. My mortgage officer laughed and said "yeah, any mortgage company would be lucky to have you." I wouldn't worry, you're still a well-qualified buyer from the sound of it.
Finally, in case you couldn't gather, I got the place. Small bidding war, but I got it for less than 2% above list within 24 hours out of 4 total offers. Now I get the joy of moving. OH JOY! ON THE OTHER HAND, two renters I know in my neighborhood have already inquired about renting my place! Apparently, I and my place come across right! (Actually, a 3rd asked, too, but his dog is over 50 pounds and my Association limits to 50 pounds).
Edit to say: 2% above list is small potatoes here, especially for places that are well priced. Our LTS (list-to-sale) across the city is something like 96%. There were actually two units available in that building, and BOTH went under contract within 96 hours of list, even though I didn't think the other one would (layout issues that needed fixed with a couple thousand dollars of construction...I was actually keeping that one as a back up thinking it wouldn't sell quickly!).