Can a landlord keep your deposit if you didn’t sign a lease?

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Can a landlord keep your deposit if you didn’t sign a lease?

My girlfriend and I were looking for a place to move into with each other. We found one and gave half a deposit to keep the place. We paid cash but we also wrote a receipt for how much we gave and how much we will have to pay before we can move in we all signed it. Due to some things that have happened in our own life we will not be able to move in can we get our deposit back?

Asked on August 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

With no signed lease, you entered into a month-to-month tenancy on an oral lease. As the name implies, on a month-to-month tenancy, either party can terminate the tenancy on one month's notice; this in turn means that a tenant is always obligated for at least one month's rent (the month of the notice period). Therefore, the landlord should be able to take one month's rent out of your deposit and return the rest.


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