If a tenant never moved in after paying non-refundable deposits, do I have to give them money back?

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If a tenant never moved in after paying non-refundable deposits, do I have to give them money back?

We charged a tenant $250 non-refundable deposits for electric and cleaning. We had property ready for them to move in, but they never did. They paid deposits and signed lease on 11th of the month, then never called until the 23rd. Now they want to waive the rent they owed for this month and move in on the 1st of next month. We have lost almost a full months rent due to them not paying the rent and moving in. Do I have to take the loss on rent for the month or can I hold them to the lease agreement they signed?

Asked on August 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, there is no such thing as a "non-refundable deposit". Since the tenants that you have written about signed a written lease, they are obligated under the lease for its full term based upon what you have written. I would let the tenants move in when they want to and charge them for all months under the lease that they signed as rent. The only money you have to return to the tenants if they do not move in is the security deposit and the deposits for electric and cleaning ($250.00).


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