Can I get legal help regarding the return of a rental advance?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I get legal help regarding the return of a rental advance?

I had rented a property and was promised that I would be provided an apartment with conditions similar to the model one shown to prospective renters. However, when I moved into the one I rented I found it was not clean, damaged at places with unusable and infested equipment. In one word, it was not livable. For the next month, I had to stay in a hotel since I was already out of lease at my previous house while I kept on hearing promises of the apartment being readied from the leasing office. Finally, when I decided to call it off after repeated visits, emails, calls and an extended period of harassment and false promises, I was offered by the

leasing office that all of the advance money will be paid back – the deposit of $349 and the initial rent of $419.90, for a total of $768.90. I received a check of $599.03 after more than 60 days. I am seeking legal help on recovering all my money and compensation for harassment.

Asked on January 9, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue for the money, but won't find legal help for it--at least not on a cost-effective basis.
If they promised you one thing to get you to enter into the agreement but did not give it to you, they committed fraud (lied about what they could or would do); and if they did not provide a usable, livable unit as agreed in the lease (which is a contract), they committed breach of contract as well. Either and both would entitle you to your money back.
You write that you should have received $768.90, but instead got $599.03--so you were shorted $169.87. Legal costs (attorneys fees) for an action like this would typically run between $600 and $1,500, depending on the billing rate of the lawyer you select and how much work/time exactly ends up being invovled. You might be able to get legal fees if you win, but that's not guaranteed, so you'd likely spend far more on the suit than you'd get back.
File a lawsuit in small claims court against them on a "pro se" (as your own attorney) basis--that's the only cost-effective way to proceed.

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 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.

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