What to do if I recently put down a deposit for an apartment that I am no longer able to rent?

The property manager is not going to give me back my deposit. Are they within their rights to just keep my money despite my not entering into a contract with them?

Asked on September 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they may retain the deposit. The deposit is provided to induce the landlord to hold and provide a rental unit for the would-be renter. If the renter pulls out of the rental--if he or she cannot or will not rent the unit---the landlord is entitled to retain the deposit. If it had been the landlord who had not gone through the transaction, or it became physically or legally impossible to rent (i.e. the building burned down or was condemmed), you'd get your deposit back, but not if the landlord was ready and willing to go ahead and you chose, for whatever reason (even a good reason) to not rent.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.