In August my cousin from FL moved up to PA to rent a house with my and SO. In September we found one and signed a lease on it(all of us). We didn't immediately put down a deposit. Sometime in October(not exactly sure of the date, have to find the receipt) me and SO put 900 down so that they could hold the place. We spoke with the real estate agent and told him we needed more time and instead of moving in Oct we'd move in Nov. He agreed. So A week before move in date my cousin tells us he cant afford the place right now.(He can but he just had 2nd thoughts I guess and doesn't want to admit it. So we call the real estate agent and let him know that we will not be able to afford the place right now. It would be too tight with just SO working. I'm 8months pregnant. So he told us of another place he has, a one bedroom. Told us our deposit could be transferred over and we'd just need 600 to move in.  That we have sitting in the top drawer.

 So he told us he would speak to the landlord and get back to us. This is the same landlord for both properties so it seems easy enough. So the weekend passes and still no word so I contact him. He informed me that the someone name John should be getting back to me. John I believe is his boss. John called on Monday and we explained the situation and at first he wasn't aware that we were still trying to rent from them but when he realized it he said everything should be ok. So Wednesday comes and he calls and tells us that our deposit cannot be transferred since we broke the lease and technically we are responsible for rent on the place until they find tenants for it. But he said that if we rent from them we wont have to keep paying on the other house. We agreed. So he told us to call the real estate agent cuz he has the house and take it from there. Well, we have been trying to reach them and have gotten nowhere.

 At first I called the agency and left messages with the receptionist. Both me and SO have done this and she told us we'd get a call back by the end of the day. A week later and still no call back. I call the agents cell phone and just get the answering machine. I call from SO phone and still the same thing. I call the office during business hours and still no answer. So now I feel like I'm being ignored. That's the only other place that they have that we can afford and I feel like they are trying to play us. So yesterday I left messages saying the need to contact me ASAP because I'm at my wits end.

Here's where it gets interesting. Although we signed a lease the landlord wasn't there so he did, and we never received a copy of the lease or keys to the home. I know not providing a lease is illegal. I know its a small technicality but can these details get me my deposit back and out of dealing with this company? Also, the agent we were dealing with said we could transfer it and then someone else said we couldn't. Can they charge us on a house they still held possession to? Do you think its worth getting a lawyer to look into?

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Nov. 9, 2010 at 2:56 PM

What state are you in?  You should look into the Landlord tenant act for your state.

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Nov. 9, 2010 at 3:03 PM


Anonymous (Original Poster)

Nov. 9, 2010 at 3:53 PM

did they cash your deposit?

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Nov. 9, 2010 at 4:06 PM

something I found on the internet.  Not sure if it helps...

Quoting Holding Deposit
Sometimes, the tenant and the landlord will agree that the tenant will rent the unit, but the tenant cannot move in immediately. In this situation, the landlord may ask the tenant for a holding deposit. A holding deposit is a deposit to hold the rental unit for a stated period of time until the tenant pays the first month's rent and any security deposit. During this period, the landlord agrees not to rent the unit to anyone else. If the tenant changes his or her mind about moving in, the landlord may keep at least some of the holding deposit.

Ask the following questions before you pay a holding deposit:
  • Will the deposit be applied to the first month's rent? If so, ask the landlord for a deposit receipt stating this. Applying the deposit to the first month's rent is a common practice.
  • Is any part of the holding deposit refundable if you change your mind about renting? As a general rule, if you change your mind, the landlord can keep some - and perhaps all - of your holding deposit. The amount that the landlord can keep depends on the costs that the landlord has incurred because you changed your mind - for example, additional advertising costs and lost rent.
You may also lose your deposit even if the reason you can't rent is not your fault - for example, if you lose your job and cannot afford the rental unit.

If you and the landlord agree that all or part of the deposit will be refunded to you in the event that you change your mind or can't move in make sure that the written receipt clearly states your agreement.

A holding deposit merely guarantees that the landlord will not rent the unit to another person for a stated period of time. The holding deposit doesn't give the tenant the right to move into the rental unit. The tenant must first pay the first month's rent and all other required deposits within the holding period. Otherwise, the landlord can rent the unit to another person and keep all or part of the holding deposit.

Suppose that the landlord rents to somebody else during the period for which you've paid a holding deposit, and you are still willing and able to move in. The landlord should, at a minimum, return the entire holding deposit to you. You may also want to talk with an attorney, legal aid organization, tenant-landlord program, or housing clinic about whether the landlord may be responsible for other costs that you may incur because of the loss of the rental unit.

If you give the landlord a holding deposit when you submit the rental application, but the landlord does not accept you as a tenant, the landlord must return your entire holding deposit to you.

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Nov. 9, 2010 at 4:48 PM

OK...I lived in Pa till just a week ago.(Taking a deposit)-If you put up a deposit more than 100.00 the landlord must put the deposit in what is called an Escrow Account and they are required by law to tell you name and address of bank and how much was deposited.

(Retuning a deposit)-The landlord has 30 days to return the deposit as long as there are NO damages. If there is damage they may keep whatever amount to fix damages. Otherwise if no damages and the landlord DOES NOT return the deposit within 30 days of the end of the lease,Tenant may sue landlord and landlord may be required to pay tenant up to TWICE the amount of the portion of the deposit that should have been returned. I would contact an attorney and just see what they have to say..

..I know this may not help but this is a start..

If you have anymore questions I will be glad to answer them for you.My mother is a paralegal and she helps me if needed.

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