Can I sue for damages if I was promised an apartment and paid a deposit but the landlord rented it to someone else?

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Can I sue for damages if I was promised an apartment and paid a deposit but the landlord rented it to someone else?

I was promised an apartment by the owner. They approved my application and requested a deposit of 1 month’s rent to hold the unit, which I paid. The owner missed a meeting to sign the lease and finalize payment (first and last month’s rent) and delivery of keys. We rescheduled; now 5 days after they accepted the deposit payment. That morning, I confirmed our meeting time and business to be done. When I showed up, I was told they had rented the apt to someone else, through a rental agency (who charged a fee). It is now too late for me to find a similar apartment. What action can I take?

Asked on August 26, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have no written agreement signed by you and the landlord to rent the apartment that you wanted, you have no right to make a claim for the unit that you wanted even though you gave the landlord a deposit to hold the unit you desired.

It is unfortunate that through a series of unfortunate events you were never able to actually meet with the owner to ink the lease.

Since you paid a deposit to the landlord, you are entitled to your deposit back from the owner immediately. If you have not requested it yet, you need to do so via a telephone call followed by a letter keeping a copy for your records.

Good luck.


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