Can I get the application fees I paid refunded if I change my mind about renting an apartment?

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Can I get the application fees I paid refunded if I change my mind about renting an apartment?

I had filled out an application (credit check etc; did not sign a lease) to rent an apartment. I was told that the application would be processed on the following Monday as the offices were closed for the weekend. I gave them 2 money orders – 1 for $35 and 1 for application fees ($629). I read very bad reviews about the apartment later in the day and decided to change my mind. I called them but reached the voicemail. Then I called them again on Sunday night and wanted my checks back on the pretext that I had given them the wrong ones and needed to correct my mistake.

Asked on August 2, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, applicatino fees are generally NOT refundable; that is, the law does not require that the landlord return them in the event that the tenant changes his or her mind. Rather, they are only refundable if either (1) they were stated to be refundable, such as on the application itself, and you complied with whatever rules existed about refundability; or (2) the landlord otherwise agrees to refund them. Therefore, it is likely the case that you cannot get the fees back. Moreover, what you write that you did may constitute additional grounds for civil or possibly even criminal liability against you--e.g. for committing some form of fraud or theft by deception, since you are looking to take money to which you are not entitled.


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