My question involves real estate located in the State of: Massachusetts, Boston
I recently applied for an apartment in Boston, MA., I filled out an application with supplement paperwork and supplied a check for first month's rent, which was also the deposit. In this process I did not sign any contract or lease binding myself to the apartment. It has been 2 weeks since, move in date is June 1st. and I decided to go with a different apartment, which is cheaper. I approached the realtor about backing out and he said I could not get my deposit back, that I had agreed to him cashing the check and that the money was a deposit, thus not refundable. He then stated that if I wanted the money back in full I would need to take him to a small claims court.
I feel as though this maybe a gray area, since I technically singed no contract the money should be returned in full. However, I did acknowledge that I knew he was cashing the check and that I was okay with it because I was going to take the apartment. Also I had heard from another realtor recently that an agent is not allowed to cash any preliminary deposits until a lease is signed, that if done it is illegal. I don't know if this has any truth to it and if this applies to my situation.
How should I proceed?