Can a landlord force me to find a replacement tenant in my place if all I have done is give him a deposit and have not yet even moved in?

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Can a landlord force me to find a replacement tenant in my place if all I have done is give him a deposit and have not yet even moved in?

We only have a verbal contract and I informed him today that I do not wish to move in but he requested me to pay a deposit 14 days ago in order for him to hold the place. Today I asked for the deposit back and he told me I have to find him another tenant to replace me and that he would give me a prorated deposit back if that happened. He has considered today my 30 day notice.

Asked on December 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If all you have is a verbal agreement (presumably a month-to-month lease) and you placed a deposit with the owner of the property that you were considering renting but have changed your mind about renting it, you are entitled to the full return of your deposit. You do not have to look for another possible tenant for the unit. You have not even moved into the unit yet.

I would write the owner of the property a note asking for the return of your security deposit by a certain date. If not received by then, your option would be small claims court. Keep a copy of the letter for future reference and need.


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