If I put a deposit down on an apartment and then changed my mind am I entitled to get my deposit refunded?

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If I put a deposit down on an apartment and then changed my mind am I entitled to get my deposit refunded?

I put a deposit down on an apartment but did not sign a lease. Nothing on the receipt says its non-refundable but the landlord says it is non-refundable. The only thing the receipt says is “Deposit for apartment 6” and the date and amount. I called 24 hours after I changed my mind and try to get the deposit back and they said it was non-refundable. After a bunch of hassling the said that they can take $33 for every day it is not rented. I read something about that being OK if it was a holding deposit but nothing in the receipt said holding deposit.

Asked on September 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If you placed a deposit for an apartment but never signed a lease to rent it nor signed any document with the intended landlord or his or her agent that the deposit you placed was not refundable, it is fully refundable if you decided not to rent the unit.

You need to do the following regarding your security deposit that has not been returned:

1. write the person holding the security deposit that it is to be returned to you by a stated date.

2. if not returned by then, your option is to file a small claims action for its return;

3. consult with your local landlord tenant clinic regarding any other course of action that could assist you.

Good luck.

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