What are my rights regarding the return of a security deposit ifI did not move in?

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What are my rights regarding the return of a security deposit ifI did not move in?

I was going to rent a flat, paid the application fee and gave them the security deposit. I set a date to come and sign the lease but a few days earlier, some uncertainly regarding my status at work caused me to hold the deal. I told them that I might be ready to sign in a month or two. I never asked for the deposit back right away. I even paid a pet deposit. Now they say that since I signed and didn’t requested the deposit right away it was forfeited. They say that they kept the apartment for me. Are they right?

Asked on September 1, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Ok so I can see keeping the application fee but the security deposit, by law, is for damage done while OCCUPYING an apartment.  Same for the pet deposit (which if you occupied may not be refunded. And what does it say on that paper that you signed?  Does it say "non-refundable"? They were foolish to hold the apartment that long (betcha they had no other bites and are just saying that) but it does not mean you forfeited the deposit.  Tell them that you want it and the pet deposit back.  That those deposits are for occupying an apartment you did not occupy. Send a demand letter and give them your address.  Tell them you want it within 30 days or you will be suing them in Small Claims Court.  Good luck. 


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