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Ask Curbed: Who Pays To Clean My Carpet?

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Who hasn't lost a chunk of change from their security deposit for a carpet cleaning? But is it avoidable, especially when the carpet has seen better days? A reader writes in:

"I'm moving out of a huge apartment complex in Burbank. I have a $700 security deposit tied up with the landlord for a 1 bedroom + loft. When I gave 30 day notice, they attached a form that said they will complete the carpet steam cleaning at an "estimated" cost of $145! The carpet is old, stained with mold, and not salvageable. Unless they are really trying to cut costs, I imagine they will replace the carpet. I can't steam clean the carpet myself, because they won't approve any other vendor. Are security deposits protected by law? Are they bound to apply sec deps towards physical damage to a rental unit? I don't think its fair that they are requiring my money to steam clean crappy carpet."Anyone know if our reader will need to subsidize Stanley Steemer?