If a possible tenant gave me a holding deposit but backed out over 2 weeks later, am I now obligated to give him his deposit back?

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If a possible tenant gave me a holding deposit but backed out over 2 weeks later, am I now obligated to give him his deposit back?

Asked on June 20, 2015 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If it was a deposit to, as you say, "hold" the unit, they you do not need to give him his deposit back--such a deposit creates an agreement under which the landlord holds the unit in exchange for being able to retain the deposit if the tenant choose to not go through with the rental. Only if the unit became unavailable due to something not the prospective tenant's fault would you have to return it.


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