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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi there

I have a tenant that signed a lease for four months and paid a deposit of 1650 ,  the rent is 1100 , but now the tenant cannot move in due to circumstances beyond their control. Th tenant informed me the day of supposing to move in?  The tenant has returned the key to the apartment

The tenant wants the deposit back.

Do I have to give the tenant the deposit back, can I get taken to the small claims court for refusing to return the deposit. what does the law say.

Look for wad to a reply.

Many many thanks in advance

Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #2 
I don't think you need to give the deposit back - that is the point of the deposit - to hold the unit.  You have lost oportunities to rent to someone else after they said they wanted it.
Do you have them fill out an application?  At the bottom of my application it is stated that the deposit is non-refundable.  Also, did they sign the lease yet? I also have it stated in the lease.
Even without these, I think you are still entitled to the deposit as I beleive it is implied by law, although I'm not certain for sure.

Here is what is stated on my applications. I bolded the part below to show you:
I understand that I acquire no rights to the rental dwelling until I sign a Rental Agreement and it has been accepted and signed by Management in the form submitted to me and make a deposit of $ xxx.xx  on the rental dwelling I have selected at location  999 Some Address.  In some cases an additional deposit may be required.  Deposit is to be held as long as I occupy the dwelling.  I acknowledge receipt of information that I have been advised of Management’s policy as relation to no pets of any kind & no smoking without written consent and permission of Management.  I will not be permitted to park trailers or boats within the boundaries of the dwelling area without written permission from Management.  I agree to abide by and comply with the terms of the Rental Agreement for this unit.  In consideration of Management’s holding this dwelling for me, I hereby waive all rights to the return of this deposit and forfeit as liquidation damages in the event I do not choose to enter into the Rental Agreement applied for herein.  I understand that any falsification of the information I supply on this application can lead to immediate disqualification of the dwelling or eviction from the dwelling if falsification is discovered after rental of the dwelling is granted.


Applicant signature:                 X__________________________________________________ Date:__________________



Posts: 3,776
Reply with quote  #3 
This was a deposit, not a holding fee.  There is a difference.  A holding fee is non-refundable and holds a unit for a tenant.  A deposit is, by definition, refundable.  Never call a holding fee a deposit!!!  Call it a holding fee that will convert to a deposit IF the tenant signs the lease and IF the tenant accepts possession of the unit as scheduled.  Patadams, please change the holding fee paperwork to reflect it as a holding fee.  In tenant friendly states, a judge will order any "deposit" accounted for and refunded.  State laws say that a tenant cannot be made to forfeit a deposit, no matter what they sign.  They can forfeit a non-refundable holding fee.  Just don't refer to it as a deposit.

You do need to account for the deposit.  And you need to do it within your state's time limit.  Since he signed the lease and took the key (accepted possession) he was obligated by the lease.  Unless the circumstances include being 1)deployed or reassigned as a military member, being 2)a victim of domestic assault and having a RO against someone, or having 3)some disability and the unit cannot be made compliant, they are irrelevant.  No other excuse is allowed.

Find out your state's time limit to return the deposit.  Make an itemized statement showing you charged him with rent until it was re-rented, any advertising costs you have, any agent fees you are charged to find a new tenant (if you use one), and other unreimbursed costs.  Send it to him with the remainder of his deposit within that time limit
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