Can my landlord refuse to give me back my deposit and first month rent if my apartment is ready to move into?

I won’t sign the lease yet because the apartment is not ready to move in. It was dirty and the carpet and walls were still wet. I told the manager to clean it better and I would be back when it was ready. She refused and said she wouldn’t lease to me unless I take it as is; she refuses to give my money back. What can I do? BTW, I took pictures of the apartment’s condition.

Asked on November 5, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your written lease that you and the landlord have for the rental that you have yet to move into requires that it be clean before you move it, then you seem to have a basis to refuse to move in since the terms of the written lease control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the landlord will not have the unit clean before move in, I would write him or her about the situation giving a due date for performance of the cleaning and if not done, you would deem the lease breached from the start where you want your deposit and first month's rent returned immediatley. Keep a copy of the letter for future reference.


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