If I gave a broker a good faith deposit but they are stipulating terms that I cannot agree to, can I cancel and get a refund?

UPDATED: Apr 25, 2012

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If I gave a broker a good faith deposit but they are stipulating terms that I cannot agree to, can I cancel and get a refund?

The broker said that we needed to give him $500 to take the listing off the market but we could get it back if we changed our minds the next day. After talking to him some more later that day, he said that he would want us to come up with around 3-5 times the rent to pay upfront so that they could “accept our application” I feel like he was not clear that he would want this much, plus they want a lot of documentation that I cannot provide. I am no longer comfortable working with them. Would I be able to get my $500 back and say I do not want to go through with the rental?

Asked on April 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

So long as you have not signed the actual rental agreement with the landlord who owns the unit you were thinking about renting, you are entitled under the laws of all states to get your deposit back for the rental submitted with your application.

The law does not allow such a thing as a non-refundable deposit with repect to solely a rental application. It seems that you are entitled to get the return of your $500 deposit back submitted with your rental application.

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