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Good evening. Yes, it is likely that the landlord can impose a claim and keep the deposit. I say this because if the deposit was to hold the rental, it means nobody else could have rented it and it was taken off the market. The landlord could claim that they lost prospective tenants and the chance to rent it and now, without the tenant moving in, they are damaged. It is not uncommon for a deposit to be kept, if the tenant does not take possession, when the property is held and taken off the market.
You could argue that the landlord never informed you that the deposit would be retained if you did not sign the lease, so you were unaware. If that is your position, you can demand it back and argue that the purpose was just to hold it but did not allow the landlord to keep the money.
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