If I paid a deposit to hold an apartment but 5 days later decided that I didn’t want the apartment anymore, am I entitled to get my money back?

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If I paid a deposit to hold an apartment but 5 days later decided that I didn’t want the apartment anymore, am I entitled to get my money back?

I haven’t signed anything stating that my deposit is non-refundable. I needed the unit asap and its been 5 days and the unit still isn’t ready. The lady told me that its nonrefundable because I knew that they were holding the apartment for me and they haven’t told anybody else about it.

Asked on May 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

IF the unit were ready on time, then you would not be entitled to a return of your deposit; the agreement when a deposit like this is made is that the landlord will hold the unit because you have provided a deposit which the landlord may keep if you elect to not take (or are unable to afford) it.

However, if the unit were not ready when it was supposed to be ready--when it was agreed between you and the landlord it would be ready--then the landlord has breached the agreement and you would be entitled to your deposit back. If the landlord refuses to return it, you will have to sue her and prove when it had been agreed that the unit would be ready and that it was not in fact ready at that time.


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