Under what conditions can a lessor refuse to refund a deposit on an agreement to enter into a lease?

UPDATED: Apr 11, 2012

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Under what conditions can a lessor refuse to refund a deposit on an agreement to enter into a lease?

I signed an agreement to enter into a lease with the owner of a condo unit and paid a deposit of $400. When I received the condo lease and guidelines I found several agreements which I was not comfortable with however the main issue was that in event of me being unable to complete the lease term subletting was forbidden. For me this changed the terms of the agreement and I decided not to move forward. This all took place in less than 72 hours and the unit had been on the market over 60 days already but the owner refused to return my deposit. Do I have an action in small claims court?

Asked on April 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws in all states in this country, if a potential tenant places a deposit to simply enter into a lease with the landlord for a particular unit, but never signs the actual lease to rent the unit, the deposit is fully refundable to the tenant regardless of the landlord's position or what is stated on the deposit documentation.

I would write the person who you gave the deposit to asking for its return by a certain date. If not given by that date, your recourse seems to be small claims court.

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