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RealEstateAnswer
RealEstateAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 23973
Experience:  9+ years in handling Leases, Landlord-Tenant, Foreclosures,Mortgages, and Eviction cases
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I gave my security deposit. But when I decided not to move.

Customer Question

I gave my security deposit . But when I decided not to move. The landlord states the deposit is non-refundable. I did not sign a lease so do they have the right to keep my deposit?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.

Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help with your question and concern

Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.

When you provided the deposit, was anything signed or provided in writing, advising how it would be applied and if it would be kept, in the event that you did not take possession and sign a lease?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Do they have the right to keep my deposit?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.

Did you see my questions above?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
My phone number is (###) ###-####
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.

So nothing was ever signed or disclose about the deposit? What was discussed when you gave it to them?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Nothing. I have the receipt for the deposit . He was so intent on me signing the lease but then would always cancel. Up until the last minute he told me I needed to have the utilities in my name. He also stated he could not give me the keys until that was done. They never said this to me when I paid the deposit.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I did write them a letter demanding my deposit back or face legal action. But I have not yet received anything.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. If the terms and conditions of the lease could not be agreed to, then the deposit should be returned. When he took it, he should have provided you documentation, in writing, advising what would happen in the event of a breach. Sometimes, a deposit is refundable and simply holds the rental until it can be looked at and terms can be agreed to and other times it is taken and non-refundable, as a form of liquidated damages, if the tenant does not take possession and sign and perform under the lease. Since nothing was signed for and all you have is a receipt, it is certainly debatable as to if this was something he was entitled to keep. If he refuses to return it upon your demand, then you would need to sue him for it. Him merely stating it is not refundable, is not a defense or legal basis to keep it, when there was never an agreement or meeting of the minds between the parties as to the actual deposit and the terms of the lease, which changed, once he had the money.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I don't have the money to sue. One attorney said to take them to small claims. But even that won't promise me getting my deposit back. What do you suggest I do ?
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.
Small claims is set up for parties to represent themselves and the cost is minimal to file. That would be the only way to recover your deposit if he refuses to return it or settle with you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Well what is considered liquidated damages? He said he held the property for me and could of had someone else in there if he would of known that I was going to back out of the deal. Plus I had to come up with an extra 250.00 dollars just to gave the electricity put in my name.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.
His argument is valid. However if this was the case it should have been disclosed and the deposit should have been given wifh a signed lease so you knew the terms and conditions of the lease. As you shared he never told you about the electricity needing to be in your name and had you known may have never proceeded to give the deposit and rent cause there was an additional cost
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Well I never paid the first months rent.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.
That would not make the lease binding but the issue is with the deposit as a shared and morning in writing.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.
Nothing in writing
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Explain This To Me please.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.
What can I clarify?
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.
If he refuses to return your deposit you need to sue him and get a judgment so he is compelled to return it. He would need to show he has a legal basis to keep it and you did not know it was nonrefundable
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 2 months ago.
Did this help clarify?

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