How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116279
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Law Educator, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Im currently looking to rent an apartment through a broker.

This answer was rated:

I'm currently looking to rent an apartment through a broker. The broker says to put in an application for a particular apartment there is a $100 fee. That is completely normal as far as I'm concerned.

However they are also asking for a "good faith deposit" of $1000 which would go towards the first months rent if successful in the application. If I found another property then I would not get the money back thus I would have to use the same broker for another property to make use of the deposit.

This appears completely non-standard to me. I'm uncomfortable about paying a good faith deposit to the broker which locks me in to them. In essence I feel I'm paying their brokerage fee up front which is not really right. I don;t mind paying the brokers fee if they find me an apartment and I sign a lease. But not before.

I should say the good faith deposit was at one point stated at $3000 then it was $1500 and then $1000 as I was "ummmming and ahhhhing" about the need to pay it.

None of this has been written down which also worries me.

Is this legal to ask for this type of deposit?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

This is no different than hiring a real estate agent to represent you to buy a house and they are entitled to a fee even if you find your own house during the term of your contract with them. This is something, that if you believe you are going to find your own apartment, you should not agree to and should reconsider using the broker and go out on your own to find an apartment.

It is legal for them to ask for this type of deposit, but you do not have to agree to it and you need to hold firm that it will not be part of the agreement AND you need to insist on a written broker agreement and if he will not give you one walk away from him.

I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Kindly remember the ONLY WAY experts receive any credit at all for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT SERVICE even though you have made a deposit or are a subscription customer. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE RATING FOR THE EXPERT TO RECEIVE ANY CREDIT, if not the site keeps your money on deposit.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes agree. I need the written agreement from the broker on fees along with terms and conditions. I'm not even sure on the brokerage fees. It's all so fast and verbal in nature and made me feel most uncomfortable.

Maybe not a scam but just too fast with my money for my liking.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry one last question. Because the broker wouldn't agree to drop the "good faith deposit" application nor put in writing their broker fees - can I view the same apartment via another broker?


I did sign a document to show the apartments i view could only be let via them.

Thank you for your response. I am sorry for the delay as I was out of town with a client matter.

If you have signed an agreement with them about only viewing apartments let by them, you would be bound to that agreement unless there is a cancellation clause. So you need to read that agreement to determine how you can cancel.

Also, as far as the fees you have a right to demand in writing that the fees be specified in writing and tell them that if they refuse then you find the contract void because there is no meeting of the minds and agreement as to the cost of this contract.

In all contracts the party must agree upon price and object of the contract, which has not happened here.
Law Educator, Esq. and 8 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you