Can Landlord hold deposit without signed lease agreement

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Can Landlord hold deposit without signed lease agreement

A rental property handled by a real estate broker and managed by a developer. Payed $35 application fee and $550 deposit. After approval, found out refrigerator is not supplied (wasn’t previously informed). Asked for deposit back. Was told he would hold until decided how much I cost him (developer). Was told he might not return any and had already cashed check (couldn’t stop payment). I live in Georgia and this all occured in less than a week.

Asked on May 20, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I think you should talk to an attorney about this, one who is familiar with landlord-tenant cases.  There are several ways to find a qualified lawyer in your area, including our website, http://attorneypages.com

It's hard to say whether the landlord was within his rights or not;  in most states there isn't an absolute requirement for a written lease.  But the fact that you didn't sign a lease might work in your favor, here.  Too often, landlords try to take advantage of tenants' lack of knowledge, which is why a lawyer can probably help you here.


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