How do I get the return of my full security deposit?

UPDATED: May 10, 2013

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How do I get the return of my full security deposit?

I found a building to open a business and signed a lease. I paid the owner a security deposit and gave him 2 month rent in advance totaling $6,600 (which he cashed immediately). Everything looked good so we all agreed to move forward, An inspector came to the property and gave the owner a list of things that needed to be done to get the building up to the fire code. The owner started work on the building and realized that some of the things on the inspectors list was way out of his budget, he told us that he would not do it, so we called the whole thing off, and asked for our $6,600 back. The owner wants to deduct his expenses from our $6,600. He wont give us all our money back, just $1,800 and wants to keep $4,725. since the deal fell through.

Asked on May 10, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

He has no right to deduct his expenses from your security deposit, UNLESS there was a written lease denominating those expenses as "additional rent" and you did not pay them. Otherwise, he has to return the money; if he does not, your recourse is to sue him for its return.

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