If my landlord stated that he will not give me my deposit back after the lease ends, what can I do?

I am currently renting a home. The agreement with the landlord was that we would start a lease and in the future, if we could afford it, we would take the deposit and some out of pocket money to start purchasing the property. I initially paid 1300 up front, first month and deposit. The landlord is now claiming that the deposit was used as a down payment and when the lease is up in November we will not be getting anything back. I am still in a lease agreement with him and never switched to purchase. What kind of action should I take?

Asked on July 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the landlord. This matter involves a disagreement over the terms of an agreement or contract--that is, whether the amount you paid would be a nonrefundable downpayment or some other kind of deposit. When two parties disagree about the terms of an agreement, the courts can interpret the agreement and apply it to the situation; the way to get the courts to do that is to file a lawsuit for breach of contract, asserting your understanding of the agreement and that the landlord has violated it.

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