How to Handle Issues Concerning a Landlord not Reimbursing Rental Deposit

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“I placed an application to a landlord for a specific rental property for my background check which cost $60. I was notified a day or two later that I had been approved as a tenant. A day or so after that I was notified that the property had already been rented and the landlord offered several other properties in the area to look at. None of the properties were of equal comparison of the first property; however, due to time constraint of a lease ending I accepted the lesser property. The new property was under renovations at the time and the landlord said in order to hold the property so no one else would be able to lease it to give them $850 dollars (that money would be applied to my lease when it was signed, for which I have a receipt). The landlord’s representative specified a date the property would be for move in. That time has come and past and the property is not ready as specified and no lease has been signed. I have asked a return of the $850 and there has been a refusal of the landlord to do so. Do I have a legal course of action to obtain my money and reimbursement of expenses and hardship this action is causing and that such a legal action would encumber?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

I would suggest investigating the local options for small claims actions. In most jurisdictions, bringing a small claims action is relatively quick and cheap, and may get you at least some recompense.

The first step in a small claims action, and one which you should do whether or not you take the next step, is to make a WRITTEN demand for payment, setting forth exactly how much you believe you’re entitled to and giving a specific deadline for response. This may get a reaction, but if it doesn’t, you now have written evidence to show the small claims judge that you were trying to be reasonable and resolve your dispute informally.

Unfortunately, the wheels of justice move slowly, and even the relatively quick small claims process probably won’t be resolved in two weeks. You might want to focus on getting someplace to live first, then on getting your money back.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.