Can I getall of my upfrontmy money back form my landlord if no lease was signed?

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Can I getall of my upfrontmy money back form my landlord if no lease was signed?

I paid $1850 to secure a rental property. Included in this amount was first and last months rent, plus a $500 security deposit. In the meantime I found a more appropriate accommodation. I advised the landlord but haven’t heard from him since. No lease was signed or even sent to me as arranged, so I put a stop on the check. The potential landlord cashed the check before the stop went through and I am now trying to recoup my money. Can you please tell me if I am entitled to all of my $1850 being returned?

Asked on November 27, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what you and your landlord considered this money for? Did you sign any documentation regarding this money? If you did, he or she may have considered it an option contract. You paid to hold the apartment.  If you were not informed on paper it represented certain fees, you may have some recourse to get the money back. If you didn't sign any documentation, did the memo line on your check state anything? If so, then yes, you would have a contract (lease) depending on what you wrote. If you did have a lease, the landlord is required to mitigate his or her damages by trying to re-let the premises, so of course, most of your money should come back to you if he or she leases the property immediately.  Talk to your local landlord tenant agency who helps protect consumers and mediate landlord tenant matters without court intervention.


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