What can I do if I gave a potential landlord a security deposit but have decided not to rent the house and now the landlord refuses to return the deposit?

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What can I do if I gave a potential landlord a security deposit but have decided not to rent the house and now the landlord refuses to return the deposit?

There was no signed lease but I do have a signed receipt.

Asked on June 26, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You most likely are not entitled to it back: even without a written lease, if there was an agreement to rent to you and you provided consideration for the agreement by providing a security deposit, you would have entered into an oral (verbal) month-to-month lease. With a month to month lease, the tenant is always liable for at least one month (e.g. the first month's rent). So the landlord can apply the deposit against the first month's rent; if the deposit is larger than a month's rent, however, he should return the suplus to you.


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