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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11531
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I recently signed an agreement to rent a home with verbal stipulation

Resolved Question:

I recently signed an agreement to rent a home with verbal stipulation from the management company that certain things I pointed out would be repaired or cleaned up prior to signing the lease contract being signed. These things have not been completed and the management company advised that I will forfeit my $1000 deposit if I do not sign the lease contract. What are my legal grounds?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

ScottyMacEsq :

Just to be clear, you signed an "agreement to rent" but you did not sign the "lease contract"? What specifically did the agreement to rent say?

ScottyMacEsq :

(the one that you signed, that si)

ScottyMacEsq :

*that is

Customer: I only signed a good faith form up to now. It states management will schedule wa
Customer: awas m
Customer: Move in inspection, that I saw property, that I put down a good faith deposit and that I agree to execute lease on or before 7/11/13 which I wouldn't due because nothing got cleaned, so they moved it to 7/15/13
ScottyMacEsq :

Does the good faith form say anything about the deposit / forfeiture of the deposit? And do you have any evidence regarding their agreement to fix the things that were to be repaired first?

Customer: the
Customer: only the only thing they had or did about cleaning was verbal to me an my realtor several,times
Customer: it does say
Customer: in the event the tenant fails to execute the lease in a timely fashion, the entire good faith deposit will be forfeited
ScottyMacEsq :

Is there any contingency in the good faith contract that would have to be met before you sign? That is, why sign a good faith agreement in the first place (rather than just the lease)?

ScottyMacEsq :

Did you see my follow up question to your issue?

ScottyMacEsq :

Are you still there?

Customer: Yes but I'm not sure what you mean?
ScottyMacEsq :

Why did you sign the good faith agreement?

ScottyMacEsq :

What was the point of signing that before signing a lease?

ScottyMacEsq :

Typically only a lease is signed, so often there is a contingency (something that has to be done before you do something), and that contingency is specifically mentioned in the good faith contract...

Customer: The original paperwork said and was dated 7/11/13 and has been moved to 7/15/13. I won't sign lease paper until clean
ScottyMacEsq :

So the cleaning provision is in writing? I thought you said it was verbal?

Customer: They required a good faith deposit
Customer: It was verbal between 3 of us and I told them I won't sign lease until cleaned and my realtor called them also. There is dog pop and cigarette buttes everywhere in yard and I don't smoke or have a pet
ScottyMacEsq :

But to be clear, there was nothing that they had to do in the good faith agreement?

Customer: No
ScottyMacEsq :

(in writing, that is)

ScottyMacEsq :

Typically "good faith" forms are just that..."Good faith" agreements, that are not leases but rather a good faith promise to sign a lease in the future (typically contingent upon something being done). It requires "good faith" on your part as well as the management company (hence the name). If there was an express contingency prior to your signing the contract, that was not met, then you don't have to fulfill your side of the contract. Now if the contingencies were met, and you still didn't sign, then that would be a situation where it would be forfeited.

Customer: nothingNo nothing in writing
ScottyMacEsq :

Now where an oral agreement does not conflict with a written one, that can be brought in as well.

ScottyMacEsq :

If the signing of the lease was expressly contingent upon the cleaning up and other issues that did not happen, then they would still be in breach, not you.

ScottyMacEsq :

As such, the forfeiture of the deposit would not be activated (which would require your breach to happen).

ScottyMacEsq :

And if that's the case, then you could sue for the deposit if they did not return it to you.

ScottyMacEsq :

again, the good-faith agreement is not a lease, merely an agreement that the parties will in good faith negotiate towards a lease.

Customer: so it's not a binding contract?
ScottyMacEsq :

No, it is a binding contract, but they have breached it by not completing the agreed upon repairs and cleanup.

ScottyMacEsq :

And when they breach, your obligations are waived.

ScottyMacEsq :

As such, you can sue them for the return of the deposit (if they don't give it to you otherwise).

Customer: even if its verbal?
ScottyMacEsq :

Absolutely. Oral contracts are binding, and can even be incorporated into written agreements if they don't conflict with written clauses.

ScottyMacEsq :

Send a demand letter demanding payment within 30 days, otherwise you will pursue legal action against him, seeking that amount plus any additional damages as allowed by law. Send this letter certified, return receipt requested, as well as a copy sent regular mail. Keep a copy for yourself, as well as the return receipt number so that you can show the court that you made a demand for the unpaid deposit. If they still don't give it to you, do a search on the web for your county and "small claims court." You should find either a website or phone number to the small claims clerk. Ask them what you need to do to bring such a lawsuit. The small claims clerk will give you guidance on how to file this suit and how to get the other party served with notice. You will receive a hearing date, at which you should present your evidence and ask for a judgment for the amount that you paid.

Customer: I also have my realtor as a witness to the fact, so ok then I will pursue and see what happens . Thank you for your help
ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure! If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq :

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

ScottyMacEsq :

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating...

ScottyMacEsq :

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

ScottyMacEsq :

Hello?

ScottyMacEsq :

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service as OK Service or higher. It's only then I am credited.

ScottyMacEsq :

It's necessary that you rate this as good or better for me to get credit for the >35 minutes that I spent with you. PLEASE do so, otherwise I don't get paid for that time.

ScottyMacEsq :

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time (~35 minutes) and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11531
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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