Does a tenant have rights to the return of theirdeposit if the have not yet occupied the rental?

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Does a tenant have rights to the return of theirdeposit if the have not yet occupied the rental?

I put a deposit down on an apartment and I have not even given them proof of income, but I’ve been approved. I don’t want to live there due to the apartment reviews on-line. Can I get my deposit back?

Asked on December 16, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Was this an application and screening fee for the apartment?  Is this the deposit that you mean?  These types of fees are regulated by statute and should not exceed $30 and they are non-refundable.  If you are talking about the security deposit then that is a different issue.  There is no such thing as a non-refundable security deposit in California as far as I can tell from all that is out there.  Did you sign anything?  Like a lease?  Then if you signed a lease you are stuck.  It is a binding contract.  If you just filled out the application then it may not be a binding contract but it should be read by someone.  Get help and figure out a strategy here.  Good luck.


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