Can my good faith deposit be kept?

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Can my good faith deposit be kept?

I was supposed to sign a lease on February 1. The day prior I met the property manager at the property to do a walk-through. None of the items that were to be taken care of it had been done. The property manager gave me a list of excuses. On top of it, there were four windows cracked open. In each window there were an air freshener as well as a battery operated air freshener in the kitchen. There was a distinct smell of cat urine/spray. I have a son who is asthmatic and severe allergies and a granddaughter with severe allergies. I was told nothing was going to be done about the carpet that I obviously had animal contamination. Now she refuses to return my security deposit.

Asked on February 4, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the landlord or property manager either provided a rental not fit to live in (e.g. the strong smell of cat urine) or did not fix conditions they had agreed to fix, they should return your deposit, since they violated their obigations (either the specific ones they ageed to, or the general legal obligation, under the "implied warranty of habitability," to provide a place fit for inhabitation). If they will not do so voluntarily, you should be able to sue for its return, such as in small claims court, as your own attorney or "pro se." 


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