Can a landlord keep a security deposit if we don’t move into the building?

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Can a landlord keep a security deposit if we don’t move into the building?

My girlfriend and I were applying for an apartment. We did the application process and paid the application fees and security deposit. They ran a credit check and one of our reports didn’t come back good and wanted an additional $900 security deposit. I told them I would see what I could do and call them back. I called them back a week later and told them we wouldn’t be able to move in because of the deposit. They said the original deposit wasn’t refundable because it had to be cancelled within 72 hours. I was never informed of this. Is this legal?

Asked on February 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, the deposit that you placed is required to be refunded by the property owner since you did not sign an actual lease. I would write the property owner a letter demanding the return of your $900 by a set date and time.

If not returned by that time period, your recourse is small claims court. Keep a copy of the letter sent for future need and reference.


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