I rented a room (Michigan, USA) and stayed there from Jan to June 2014. The entire agreement was done through email, including 'signing' a lease (there was no actual signature, the landlord and I merely typed in our names and dates into a 'lease' that was completely written only on email). There was a $500 deposit. In June 2014, the lease ended and I left Michigan for the summer.
However, just before I left, the landlord agreed (via email) to lease me a different room (though in the same house) for September to December 2014. I thus asked if it would make sense if the landlord held on to my $500 deposit (instead of her returning it to me within 30 days of my June 2014 move-out, as is required by law, and then my sending her a $500 deposit again before I moved in again in September 2014). She agreed that this would make more sense, stating that she would return me the deposit after whenever I eventually moved out of her house for good.
In late July 2014 (more than 30 days after I moved out in mid-June 2014), the landlord emailed me, stating that she would be retracting her email offer of rent. Her precise words were that "due to a number of circumstances including your failure to acknowledge several important provisions of our lease, it is necessary for me to retract my email offer of renting a room to you". I asked her to clarify what important provisions I failed to acknowledge, but she has not done so, saying she is busy at the moment and may take another week before she can fully explain it to me.
Absent her full explanation, the only explicit reason she has ever given me for being dissatisfied with me (stated in emails in late June 2014) is that I left a considerable (though not overwhelming) volume of my possessions in the living room when I left in June 2014. (There is a clause in the lease stating that personal belongings should not be left in common areas.) These possessions are still in the living room and, in the late July email where she retracts her offer of a room to me, she asks that I remove them the moment I return in September 2014. In my defense, the reason why I had done so was that (1) When negotiating in June 2014 whether I could rent a room for Sep - Dec 2014, I asked her if I could store my possessions somewhere in the house--she did not respond to this query and as I had to leave Michigan before I got any response, I thought it might be fine to occupy a small area in the living room for my possessions; and (2) There would be at most one other person present in the house for any duration of summer 2014 and he did not seem to mind terribly the presence of such possessions in the common areas, given that he himself had left some of his possessions in the common areas for about two months.
At present, the landlord still has my $500 deposit.
If she is firm about refusing to lease me the room, I have a little more than a month to look for another room to rent for September to December 2014. If I take her to a small claims court, what sort of compensation can I expect to get in return?
If money.SE is not the appropriate venue for my above request for legal advice, please suggest where else I can ask this question. Thank you!
Edit to elaborate: My thoughts were that perhaps her email agreement, combined with her keeping of my $500 deposit, constitutes some sort of a contract. But I may be wrong; I am not a lawyer, which is why I am writing this here.
If the down-voter can perhaps explain why the down-vote, I would appreciate it and try to correct this question accordingly.