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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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I am wondering if the Landlord involved is able to keep my

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I am wondering if the Landlord involved is able to keep my deposit until they have another tenant sign for the house...

Here's the situation. I found a house that I was interested in leasing for one year or more. I made initial contact to the Realtor involved with the transaction. I filled out the Rental Application and provided a $1000 deposit for the house. The Possession Dates where for July 2013 to July 2014. Initially I was told that the house would be available July 1, 2013. I was later told via email that the house wouldn't be available until July 6, 2013.

Now, I'm being told that the house isn't available until August 6, 2013.

The Realtor and Landlord involved are telling me that I am not obligated to get my deposit back until and if the house in question does get another signed lease agreement.

I was under the impression that I was going to take possession of this house no later than July 6, 2013. My initial rental application was dated in such a way. Isn't there a clause or such in the state of Florida that will protect me in this situation, as the house was not available to me in the time frame that I had supplied a deposit for???

Waiting to take possession of the house is not an option.

As a side note: I was emailed the lease to take possession of the house from Aug 6, 2013-Aug 5, 2014. I have Not signed the lease agreement.
I would like to get out of this situation quickly!

Thank you for your response and time!
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good afternoon. This is an issue of the law of contracts and the realtor needs to stay out of the arena of practicing law and perform only his duties as a realtor. Neither the owner nor the realtor has any right to retain your deposit if you have neither taken possession of the property or agreed upon a lease agreement. There can be no binding contractual agreement until you either take possession indicating a verbal "at will" tenancy or have signed a lease agreement indicating full accord and satisfaction on the contractual terms. Until such time, although the realtor would be able to retain a small nominal fee for processing your application, your deposit remains full refundable until either occupancy or signing a lease. If they will not return your deposit voluntarily, file a claim against them in small claims court for the deposit and all costs involved in recovering your deposit. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property to satisfy the judgment.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Just to clarify.. I am not obligated to get my deposit back until the house has a new occupant or signed lease.. So I will be in the waiting game until either has happened??


Also.... And the fact that I was told one date initially doesn't make any difference in my ability to get out of this situation?? As I was under the impression to be taking possession in July. But was later told, I wouldn't be able to move into the house until August. Isn't that a misrepresentation of the possession/occupancy of the home??


Again, I have not signed any Rental Agreement or Lease. I have only filled out a Rental Application.


Thank you again for your time and response!!!!

Thanks for following up. I'm sorry for the confusion. You do not need to wait until they have another tenant. That's their problem, not yours. That would only be the case if you had taken occupancy or signed a lease and were not terminating. Your situation stands alone. Since you neither signed a lease nor took occupancy, you are entitled to terminate this arrangement immediately and demand your deposit be returned now, not later.
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