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lyric
March 4th, 2014, 04:57 PM
Here's the situation . . . my daughter & hubby looked at an apartment two days ago, made application, put down $250.00. They decided to not take an apartment BEFORE they ran their information and went to get their money back (minus any applicable fees). They are refusing to give them one penny back. And, while they were there, one worker turned to another and said, "We can rent the apartment to the other girl."

It is my understanding that legally they can not KEEP the MONEY, AND rent the apartment (which was not even DD and DSIL's yet) to another prospective tenant.

Any advice, dear quilters? My daughter is very upset and as she is in a high-risk pregnancy I am wanting to help best I can from 1,000 miles away.

TIA,

Lyric

KathyCrofoot
March 4th, 2014, 05:04 PM
It depends on the state where they live, and what paperwork they signed when they made the application...

I work for a landlord that charges a non-refundable application fee and hold deposit. It really stinks when you're the applicant, but look at it from the other side of the coin - do you know how many people put in applications and never return, meanwhile the property has been 'off the market' for however long...

If they really want to make a stink about it - take it up with the municipality that oversees the rental operations in the town/city where they live. If you can give me a little more information, I might be able to find out something that would help.

Ahamblin
March 4th, 2014, 05:40 PM
I agree with Kathy. If the application stated that the deposit is "non-refundable" there may not be anything that they can do. Can they send you a copy of the paperwork they signed?

Suzette
March 4th, 2014, 05:43 PM
I am sure it varies from state to state, but when my daughter was apartment hunting a few months ago, each place told her that the application fee was non-refundable. Period. So at least they were very up front about it. This allowed her to be very careful not to put any money down until she was absolutely sure that was the apartment she wanted.

I'm sorry this happened to your daughter, but I would look at the documentation she signed and see what the small print says about refunds. But I fear she is out the money. :(

Bubby
March 4th, 2014, 05:53 PM
I'm a landlord but we don't charge an application fee or any charge for a background check. If the application states "Non-Refundable" they are probably out of luck. In most states the Attorney General's office is in charge of Landlord/Tenant laws. Have your DD check there.

lyric
March 4th, 2014, 07:20 PM
It depends on the state where they live, and what paperwork they signed when they made the application...

I work for a landlord that charges a non-refundable application fee and hold deposit. It really stinks when you're the applicant, but look at it from the other side of the coin - do you know how many people put in applications and never return, meanwhile the property has been 'off the market' for however long...

They viewed this apartment TWO DAYS ago = not off the market for extended time; AND, their application had not been completed; i.e., they were to turn in more paperwork. Before doing so, they decided to not go further with the APPLICATION process.

Since they had signed no lease, the application not completed it would not make sense to take the unit of the market. For instance, what if they did not qualify, what if they were felons or any number of things that could/would disqualify them. Not good business sense to take it off the market until you have a tenant. Right?

lyric
March 4th, 2014, 07:22 PM
Ok, thanks Bubby. Suzette and Ahamblin, thanks for chiming in. I see what you're saying.

Kgrammiecaz
March 4th, 2014, 07:32 PM
Sounds like their money should be returned. If they were to provide additional paperwork to even be approved, there was really no formal application for the apartment. If they paid by check they could cancel it. If cash, they will have to take them to small claims court. Maybe just filing will be enough for them to give back the money.

Hey, if you have a lawyer friend, have them call the place and tell them they are filing against them. That might be enough too.

KathyCrofoot
March 4th, 2014, 10:51 PM
They viewed this apartment TWO DAYS ago = not off the market for extended time; AND, their application had not been completed; i.e., they were to turn in more paperwork. Before doing so, they decided to not go further with the APPLICATION process.

Since they had signed no lease, the application not completed it would not make sense to take the unit of the market. For instance, what if they did not qualify, what if they were felons or any number of things that could/would disqualify them. Not good business sense to take it off the market until you have a tenant. Right?

Gosh - well ok then. I didn't know the application wasn't completed. Your original post said " my daughter & hubby looked at an apartment two days ago, made application, put down $250.00."

Words written on a screen convey no emotion. I know this. However, your red letters screamed at me from across the country. Fortunately it was only words and not sharp objects. If you thought I was wrong, you didn't have to shout in red letters. I didn't need to come back in here and find I had offended you somehow without even trying. That usually it takes work on my part. ;) I said I would try to help if I could get more information.

Let me tell you a little something here.

1) The beginning of the month is the busiest for landlords who have vacancies. If they take a unit off the market at the beginning of the month even for a day or TWO because they have a serious prospect, they take a chance that they lose income for an entire month, hence the fee.
2) Two days is two days. If an application is in process and a deposit is paid, then they would have absolutely taken the unit off the market.
3) I have had rental property in the past, handled by a property manager for just this reason. They took care of all the tenant screenings, repairs and rent collections. If the property was vacant, we were scrambling to make the mortgage payment. We prayed that someone would want to live there before the next mortgage payment was due. We didn't leave that house by choice, the United States Government said we must move so we did, leaving behind our first home, mortgage and all due to the housing market at that time.
4) My husband works for our city government and there are rental ordinances on the books, and tenant landlord assistance people within the city government. I know what I'm talking about at least for this small town in Wisconsin, which is why I couched my answer based on where they were.
5) I work for Realtors and property owners, and know a little something about landlord-tenant law in New York and Maryland. I could probably help find your daughter a place to live if she was looking in Maryland.

Either way, I guess you don't want my help. Good luck!

Rhonda D. Matzker
March 5th, 2014, 12:57 AM
I too am a landlord and we do not charge an application fee. However, if someone puts money down on a property to hold it, they are told that money is non refundable because we take the risk that they will change their mind and thus lose the possibility of renting it to someone else. I don't know that there is anything they can do about this particular instance but tell them from this point forward, make sure they get a copy of the application so that they know if it says "fees non-refundable" and to read it "BEFORE" filling it out.

Not defending the landlord here, but you have to realize that landlords take a huge risk in renting a place out to someone. I can tell you horror stories from past tenants where deposits and fees don't even begin to cover damages and taking them to court was not an option. Your DD needs to read the paper work very carefully before and completely before she begins filling in a single blank.

Kgrammiecaz
March 5th, 2014, 01:53 AM
If they are not yet approved, the renting agency or landlord would be foolish to take it completely off the market. They would still take other applicants in case the first did not qualify.

I currently have $150 on deposit with an apartment and my application is completed, but i have not yet completely qualified. I can cancel anytime before they formally offer the apartment, because at that time they would take it off the market.

So i do agree that legally they have no hold on that money. Just my opinion based on the information given

Good luck with it, I hope they get their money back and find a great place as well. Just tell them it does not sound like they were good people to rent from anyway

lyric
March 8th, 2014, 09:31 PM
Just tell them it does not sound like they were good people to rent from anyway

My sentiments too, Kgrammiecaz!

lyric
March 8th, 2014, 09:34 PM
Hey Ms. Crofoot:

Red is my favorite color. Totally forgot some of the many meanings it conveys. Duh, on my part. I apologize for using that color for THIS post.

Now, I'm going to finish reading the rest of your post. ;-)

lyric
March 8th, 2014, 09:37 PM
Okay, now I've finished the entire post. I will pass this on to DD. Thank you for this perspective.

Lyric


Gosh - well ok then. I didn't know the application wasn't completed. Your original post said " my daughter & hubby looked at an apartment two days ago, made application, put down $250.00."

Words written on a screen convey no emotion. I know this. However, your red letters screamed at me from across the country. Fortunately it was only words and not sharp objects. If you thought I was wrong, you didn't have to shout in red letters. I didn't need to come back in here and find I had offended you somehow without even trying. That usually it takes work on my part. ;) I said I would try to help if I could get more information.

Let me tell you a little something here.

1) The beginning of the month is the busiest for landlords who have vacancies. If they take a unit off the market at the beginning of the month even for a day or TWO because they have a serious prospect, they take a chance that they lose income for an entire month, hence the fee.
2) Two days is two days. If an application is in process and a deposit is paid, then they would have absolutely taken the unit off the market.
3) I have had rental property in the past, handled by a property manager for just this reason. They took care of all the tenant screenings, repairs and rent collections. If the property was vacant, we were scrambling to make the mortgage payment. We prayed that someone would want to live there before the next mortgage payment was due. We didn't leave that house by choice, the United States Government said we must move so we did, leaving behind our first home, mortgage and all due to the housing market at that time.
4) My husband works for our city government and there are rental ordinances on the books, and tenant landlord assistance people within the city government. I know what I'm talking about at least for this small town in Wisconsin, which is why I couched my answer based on where they were.
5) I work for Realtors and property owners, and know a little something about landlord-tenant law in New York and Maryland. I could probably help find your daughter a place to live if she was looking in Maryland.

Either way, I guess you don't want my help. Good luck!