Does a tenant have a right to a refund of a deposit if they withdraw their rent application 4 months before they were suppossed to take occupancy?

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Does a tenant have a right to a refund of a deposit if they withdraw their rent application 4 months before they were suppossed to take occupancy?

On the 22nd of last month my mother signed an app to hold a senior apartment for a move in date for over 4 months later and provided a $500 deposit at that time. We then learned her financial situation was not what she thought and it was in her best interests to withdraw her application. On the 5th of this month a written notice to withdraw was provided to the landlord and a request for a refund of the $500 deposit. At no time was a lease ever signed and my mother did not receive notice that her application was accepted. We cannot find any reference on the the application stating “non-refundable.” The landlord confirmed receipt of withdrawal, but is not returning my calls. Do we have right of refund?

Asked on September 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country if you simply made an application for a rental and submitted a $500 deposit but then decided to not rent the unit where you never signed a rental agreement, you are entitled to the return of the deposit.

I would write the owner of the rental that you were interested in demanding payment of the refund by a certain date. Keep a copy of the letter for future use and need. If you do not get payment by the demanded date, your legal recourse is small claims court.


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