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  1. #1

    Exclamation How to Back Out of a Deal to Rent An Apartment - Rent Paid, Lease Not Signed

    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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    68

    Default Re: How to Back Out of a Deal to Rent An Apartment - Rent Paid, Lease Not Signed

    Quote Quoting ElizabethB7419
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    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.
    You either supplied a deposit or you paid rent, one or the other, according to the paperwork you signed.
    In this process I did not sign any contract or lease binding myself to the apartment.
    What you are describing is a refundable deposit but without seeing the paperwork...
    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.
    We are going in circles here. What does the application and supplemental paperwork you signed say? What your Realtor says is of no consequence if the written paperwork governs your and his actions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: How to Back Out of a Deal to Rent An Apartment - Rent Paid, Lease Not Signed

    Quote Quoting ElizabethB7419
    View Post
    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?
    What did the "supplemental paperwork" say, and did your signature appear anywhere on the paperwork, including the application?? Did you write anything onto the check??

    Often, a payment is made to "hold the apartment". I'm a LL and when I do this, I take the apartment off the market, and tell other interested parties that someone is renting the place. Years back, I used to take a payment for a partial month, or a full month, to hold the apartment, pending credit check and lease signing. If I did that, someone came back and say they wouldn't be renting, I would say that if I found someone by the original move-in date, I would let him off the hook. Otherwise, I'm due the money.

    While the statute of frauds may require something in writing, it does not have to be a lease, it could be a binder or a deposit agreement, unless local ordinances override it. In fact, I used an application for many years where the deposit agreement is part of the it. I no longer take deposits to hold appartments anymore, and when tenants apply, I tell them I'm crossing out that part of the application holding the apartment. This is because so many people are under the impression that when they sign the application, hand it to me, they have the apartment locked up.

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