legal advice please! - Posted by Cw

Posted by Willie on August 20, 2003 at 19:19:44:

Cassie has given you good advise. Post on the Legal Form. When ever I take a deposit I always include in the receipt the date that it expires and the fact that it is returnable only if the applicant is not approve. If the applicant backs out for any other reason and I have approved them, they do not get the deposit back. But you might want to check your state law to see if that applies.

legal advice please! - Posted by Cw

Posted by Cw on August 20, 2003 at 18:56:30:

I live in Tx, and I need some advice, preferrably from someone who knows the law, not just guessing… I have a rental unit up for rent, and this person comes by and looks inside. Says that they want it, but don’t have a deposit. My policy is that i will only hold the place for someone if i receive a security deposit, since i’ve been burned in the past by taking someone’s word. They’re waiting on the tax check we just received, but didn’t have it yet, so i tell them to call me when they get it and i’d let them know if it was still available. The next morning at 7am, this person calls to tell me that the parents would lend them money, she definitely wanted to rent my place, and that i could get the security deposit that day. Since they were going out of town, I waited until the 2nd to get the security deposit from her father. He gave me cash, i gave him a receipt. The next day she fills out a rental application, and i tell her that the place is hers conditional on any negative info i may find. She even has her mother and friend with her, is very excited about the place, and even tells me that she wants to paint the kitchen. I confirm her ok the next day, then that evening her father calls me to say that she wants to back out and that how i handle the security deposit is up to me. So i figure that i have to find a new tenant, readvertise, and the security deposit is mine until i find a replacement. I find a new tenant that signs a lease effective on the 15th. I planned on returning the difference to the original person on a pro-rated basis, 2nd thru the 15th. Today i get a call from a lawyer saying that she didnt sign a lease so i can’t keep any money. I have not returned anything yet because from my understanding i have 30 days regardless to return the money, and this happened this month. So , my questions again are:

  1. Can i keep any security deposit based on a verbal agreement(stated several times) that a tenant wants the property and i agreed to rent?
  2. Do i have 30 days to return any difference if i do get to keep a prorated amount?
  3. My wife had a similar previous incident where they kept all her deposit…ws this legal?
  4. What amounts can i subtract from security deposit? Advertising? Prorated days without a new tenant?

Thank you for your help

Re: legal advice please! - Posted by Tom-FL

Posted by Tom-FL on August 23, 2003 at 16:32:35:

Well, I won’t venture any legal advise on your particular situation. However, you’ll know next time to put it all in writing. Also get a copy of your state LL/Tenant rules to guide you. As a personal note, I would have had the rental period start at signing, and collect the first month rent, in addition to or instead of a security deposit. No refunds on partial months. Then without question, you could keep the entire amount. You can always collect the security deposit when they actually move in. Here in FL the deposit is for damages, so if they didn’t break anything, they get it back.

Cannot give you legal advice, but… - Posted by TKP, Houston

Posted by TKP, Houston on August 21, 2003 at 24:38:26:

CW, Not being a lawyer i cannot give you legal advice, but you do have 30 days to return the deposit. I do not think you can keep any of it unless you can prove that you have suffered a loss. Don’t worry about the lawyer, as long as the disputed amount is less than $5,000 it will be settled in JP court where you can represent yourself. If you feel you have lost half a month’s rent you keep that and return the balance with a letter explaining why you kept a portion of the deposit. I would be surprised it they take you to court. And even if they do it is no big thing, in fact it may be an interesting experience for you. Good Luck! TKP, Houston

Re: legal advice please! - Posted by Cassie

Posted by Cassie on August 20, 2003 at 19:05:32:

I think you need to post this on the legal forum. However, GOOD LUCK!