Baton Rouge, LA asked in Real Estate Law, Stockbroker Fraud and Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: I need advice about deposits to hold apartments during application process and the proper documentation procedures.

I signed a contract before applying for an apartment. It stated what the rent would be and agents fee amount and deposit amount. It should be noted it specifically stated the credit check fee was nonrefundable, but did NOT say that the deposit was nonrefundable. Two days later, after determing the agents company was untrustworthy based on new found information I decided i did not want to proceed with signing the lease even though I found out I was approved for the apartment. Now, the agent keeps avoiding my request to have my deposit refunded. She just keeps giving explainations that have no legal support. I have the documentation/receipt and both parties signed that proves It was not written that the deposit would be nonrefundable if I were to choose to pass on the apartment. Now the real estate agent has ceased communucation about my request of a refund. Can anything be done about this?

1 Lawyer Answer
Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The law varies between states but generally the terms of the contract (deposit agreement) control the rights of the parties. You state that the deposit agreement does not contain language stating the deposit would be nonrefundable but you haven't said it states the deposit would be returnable. If either party could back out of the agreement without any consequence, what was the deposit intended to secure?

In NYC if you were unable to resolve this type of dispute, you could commence a Small Claims Court case to recover up to $5,000.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.