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nwshepherds

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 

We have a home in Merced California that I accepted a 1,000 security deposit from people that I approved for the home.  They were to take possesion of the home on September 1st 2007.  A rental agreement was signed indicating a 2 year lease, however, being that the tenants never accepted keys, and due to a change in their circumstances are unable to take possesion and rent the home.  My question is, do I have to refund them the security deposit?  The agreement did not include any portion of the deposit as a hold deposit, rather the security deposit was acting as both hold and security, though we did not list it as anything other than a security deposit in the agreement.  So what is the verdict?   Any help would be appreciated.  Thank  you


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OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #2 
You would have to check your state laws to be sure this answer is legit there.

In OH, we would start counting the days to return the deposit when they were scheduled to take possession.  They would owe rent until I found another tenant for the property, costs of advertising, any unreimbursed costs for screening tenants, etc.  I would make up an itemized statement of what I deducted out of their deposit and send it to them with the rest of their money just before the time limit to return the deposit is up (30 days here).  Get that place advertised and start showing & screening applicants quick.  Since they did sign the lease, you have a signed contract you can hold them to.

Next time, write the deposit as a "non-refundable holding fee".  If they sign the lease and take possession as required, it is applied toward their security deposit on the place.  If they do not sign & take possession, they forfeit all of it.
julieann05

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Reply with quote  #3 

I also have a similar problem. I am not a landlord but a tenant. My roommate and I applied for an apartment in November. During the application process a $25 fee was charged for each of us, and the landlord also collected a $500 dollar security deposit. After approving us, she sent a lease agreement in the mail. However, before we signed the lease we found a different apartment for a better price. Because we have not signed the lease, is she able to keep our security deposit? I know we forfeit the money for the credit check. We also gave her 20 days notice. Where can I look to see what options we have? Thanks!

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #4 

What did the receipt or the paperwork for the $500 state?  If it listed it as a "holding fee' or as "non-refundable", you cannot get it back.  If it was listed as the deposit, you may get some of it back, however (depending on your state law) she may be able to keep a portion of it for wasting her time to screen you, prepare the lease documents, for taking the rental off the market (with the assumption that you wanted it), etc.  This amount should be a reasonable amount for the period of time it was made unavailable to others.  Check the documents you signed or were given, and check your state law to see how it addresses your type of deposit.

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