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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 116707
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years experience.
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I had a tenant give a deposit to hold the unit and block out

Customer Question

I had a tenant give a deposit to hold the unit and block out future rentals through the AirBnB site during his future lease. He sent me this deposit, and I said if he canceled it would be nonrefundable. We had originally planned to meet 8/31 to get the rent and for him to view the apartment, however he changed his plans and said he would come 9/2 and start the lease then. The lease states rent is due 9/1 and he never paid. I asked him for rent and he did not respond until 9/2. 9/2 he stated he "thought" he was going to bring the rent check though this was not discussed after he changed the plans. ( I live on the east coast and he knew I was not there 9/2). Therefore, 9/2 rent was already late. I told him I could not give him the keys until he pays rent. Since I live on the east coast, his options were mail (which could be overnighted), paypal (takes 5-7 business days) or western union (instantaneously). Since mail and paypal take longer, I told him I cannot let him in until I receive the money. He said he refused to pay western union fees (aka refuses to pay rent that day). I told him he could not move in then seeing that I do not have rent. He then threatened to sue me among other things and got very defensive. I told him that we could not continue the lease agreement if he did not pay the rent. Now he filed a complaint with paypal for his deposit back and froze the account, has allegedly filed a police report for fraud and claims he will be suing me. We had an agreement in writing that I would be paid 9/1. Am I entitled to keep the security deposit since he never paid rent? I feel like I should have some rights since now I have to find a new tenant and I had to reject tenants while he held the property.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

If rent was due 9/1 and he did not pay the rent prior to move in and by 9/2 he was delinquent, then legally he is in breach of the contract and you are entitled to keep the deposit. So you need to send him written notice that he has breached the lease by not paying rent when due on 9/1 and that as of 9/2 he refused to make payment and as such he breached the contract and you are retaining his security deposit based on his breach of the lease. Tell him if he continues to insist on pursuing the matter, you will sue him for the rent you lost during the time when he was supposed to agree to rent the property from losing other tenants and seek further damages from him.

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