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I am a landlord for one rental home. My tenant signed the…

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Hello. I am a...

Hello. I am a landlord for one rental home. My tenant signed the lease on 9/27. He paid a $4000 deposit with with agreement to pay off the 9 month lease in full by 11/1 of the amount of $13,300. Saturday 9/30 after the walk-thru and handing him over possession, he calls me about 1/2 hr later stating that he changed his mind and no longer wants to live there. I gave him back $1000 of his deposit already, how much more am I obligated to give back?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

WA state

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Such as? By me, no, Nothing filed.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
10/3/2017
Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 8 months ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 125,308
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

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Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 8 months ago

Legally, once he signed the lease, he bound himself to make payments on the lease under the terms of that lease. You do not have to cancel the lease if you choose not to unless somehow you breached the lease. So legally you do not have to pay him back anything since he broke the lease by refusing to take the premises and honor the lease. So you need to tell him that since he is in breach of the lease you are not refunding any more of his deposit and you refunded more than you legally had to refund him.

Legally you did not have to give him the $1000 back. Legally, you can make him pay rent until you find a new tenant under the lease and if he refuses you could even sue him for it, so you need to make him aware of those things as well.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I thought I read that in WA state a landlord has to give back any deposits minus advertising and lost rent??
Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 8 months ago

Thank you for your reply.

If your lease did not specify the deposit is not refundable, then you have to refund any portion that does not cover lost rent and damages. However, if your lease stated the deposit was not refundable in case of breach you could keep all of it. At this point, you have not rented the premises, you do not know how much your losses will be, but I would surmise based on the value of the lease you described that they would be in excess of the $3000 you are holding before you rent the premises out again.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

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