Can the leasing office keep my deposit if they never gave me a contract for the house?

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Can the leasing office keep my deposit if they never gave me a contract for the house?

I moved into the house 3 years ago with the
intention of buying it. I placed a 1500 deposit
in the house. 3 months after moving in I went
to the on-site management office and asked
about the contract for the house. The manager
told me that the owner of the property is the
one who makes the contracts and sometimes it
takes a while but not to worry. 6-8 months later
I went and asked again for a contract. This
time I was told the same thing with an
additional, it has taken her 2-3 years to write
up a contact for the house, so dont worry
about it. I turned in my 60 notice to vacate in
a timely manner, June 30 is my last day there,
and now they are trying to say that I might not
get my deposit returned because I havent
made any payments on the house. I dont
have a contract, payment amount, payment
date, payout amount … What can I do?

Asked on June 8, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You made a deposit to buy the home; they never gave you a contract to purchase it; therefore, they did not fulfill their obligations and you never were given what you were putting a deposit down for. Under those circumstances, they cannot keep your deposit: the other party cannot retain a deposit without providing what you paid the deposit for. If they will not voluntarily return it, you will have to sue them (based on "breach of contract"--on them not honoring their obligations--and/or fraud--them lying about what they could or would do) for the money, but based on what you write, should have a good chance of succeeding. For the amount of money you describe, suing in small claims court, as your own attorney ("pro se") would be a fast, cost-effective option.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You made a deposit to buy the home; they never gave you a contract to purchase it; therefore, they did not fulfill their obligations and you never were given what you were putting a deposit down for. Under those circumstances, they cannot keep your deposit: the other party cannot retain a deposit without providing what you paid the deposit for. If they will not voluntarily return it, you will have to sue them (based on "breach of contract"--on them not honoring their obligations--and/or fraud--them lying about what they could or would do) for the money, but based on what you write, should have a good chance of succeeding. For the amount of money you describe, suing in small claims court, as your own attorney ("pro se") would be a fast, cost-effective option.


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