What can I do if a prospective landlord cashed my check after I declined to rent his space?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What can I do if a prospective landlord cashed my check after I declined to rent his space?

I was interested in a commercial lease, so my realtor advised me to give a check to show my good intent. I did as he said and the lease was sent to me about a week later but it was about the craziest lease I’ve ever seen. I refused to sign and rent the property. After I declined the owner of the building cashed my check. He is refusing to return it. I did not sign anything concerning the check; I did it in good faith as my realtor had asked. What are my options?

Asked on November 9, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New York


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your realtor for misrepresentation and possible double dealing and file a complaint with the state licensing board. As to your check, contact your bank and have it reverse citing theft. Indicate that your check was to be held depending on whether you would sign a lease and since you didn't sign, the landlord essentially stole your funds. Then call the police and file a police report, as well. You can probably call the police report first and then submit that with your bank dispute.

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