Can my landlord hold me to an email agreement to sell him my washer/dryer set andmake a deduction from my security deposit if I don’t?

UPDATED: May 17, 2011

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Can my landlord hold me to an email agreement to sell him my washer/dryer set andmake a deduction from my security deposit if I don’t?

I am moving out and was planning on selling my washer/dryer for $800. My landlord said he’d buy it for $600 andI agreed over e-mail. But now I am getting alot of others interested in paying my original asking price of $800 and I told him I’d sell to someone else if he couldn’t match it. He replied that we had a confirmed agreement over e-mail for $600 and that if he had to find a set for more than $600, he would take the difference out of my security deposit ($2000). Is the e-mail agreement to sell to him for $600 legally binding? Andif it is, can he deduct from my security deposit?

Asked on May 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Can the landlord hold you to the agreement to sell the washer and dryer for $600? Yes. Once there is an offer to buy something for a certain amount, and acceptance or agreement by the seller of those terms, an enforceable agreement is formed. The fact that the seller might be able to get more money from someone else is irrelevant.

2) Can the landlod deduct money from the security deposit for your breach of the agreement? No. Landlords may only deduct from security deposits for damage to the premises caused by the tenant or for  unpaid rent--there are no other legal reasons to take money from the deposit. The landlord would have to sue you--including, though, in small claims court--if he wants to enforce the agreement or receive damages.

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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