I’ve done smalls claim court before and it’s inexpensive but time-consuming. you have to go down to smalls claim court near judiciary metro, fill out paperwork, $50 fees, $10 for certified mail to serve process or $50 to hire a process server from the telephone book to hand deliver and ensure proof of process to the judge or you cant proceed with your case. then after that is done, you’ll present your evidence, copy of a signed lease/ cancelled check with the deposit total and copies of emails from landlord citing that they owe you the balance and have tried to send you checks and all their runaround… I personally would avoid, but not legal advice. There is a free legal advocate office in the same building where you can field the questions. I would push to meet the landlord in person and pickup a check. If they avoid your calls, go knock on their door and ask them to write you a check. If they avoid you at the door, looks like you’ll need to resort to getting legal advice or small claims route… even with small claims, you can get a judgement, but you cant force them to hand over money to you so there is no guarantee you actually get money even if you win. sucks right?