I put a deposite down on an apartment but found another thats better suited for my needs. I did not sign a lease. The apartment complex had not completed the back ground and credit check. They have refused to return the deposite. Can they legally do this

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I put a deposite down on an apartment but found another thats better suited for my needs. I did not sign a lease. The apartment complex had not completed the back ground and credit check. They have refused to return the deposite. Can they legally do this

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Asked on January 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they do not need to return your deposit. A deposit secures the apartment (or other item or service, in non-apartment situations) for you; it is part of an agreement whereby the landlord agrees that you will be able to rent a unit from them and you agree that in exchange for holding or providing the apartment for you, they can keep the deposit if you end up not renting. If they were unwiling or unable to rent to you, you'd get the deposit back; they are not allowed to keep your money without providing you an apartment. But that's not this case: *you* are choosing to not rent from them. When they are ready and willing and able to rent to you and you choose to not go through with the rental, they are allowed to keep the deposit. That is the whole point of the deposit: to give the landlord some guaranty you will go ahead and rent from them, by putting your money (the deposit) at stake.


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