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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    2

    Default Can a Landlord Rescind an Agreement to Lease Then Retain a Holding Deposit

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Ohio

    A prospective tenant filled out an application and left the co-applicant line blank. She said there would be 3 people living in the apartment. She mentioned kids so I assumed it was 2 kids. We made a verbal agreement for her to rent the apartment. She gave me a holding deposit of $425. When we met later in the month ( the 25th) to sign the lease, to transfer the keys and receive the remaining deposit and 1st month's rent, she mentioned that her boyfriend would be moving in. He had 3 felonies and material financial problems. I decided not to rent to them and kept the holding deposit. She's suing me for the deposit back. I lost a month's rent + utilites so I suffered a financial loss. Is there a court case or law that states that if the prospective lies, deceives or withholds material information, that they do not get their holding deposit back? I could not find anything in the Ohio Revised code or a court case on lexis nexus in Ohio,(I am a novice at lexis nexus though). I've seen language online stating that if I suffered a financial loss and the prospective tenant is at fault or tried to deceive, then the holding deposit does not have to be returned, but there was no legal reference for the statement.
    Thanks for any help on this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,035

    Default Re: Not Returning a Holding Deposit

    You wrote "...I assumed it was 2 kids." Did you ever ask if there was another adult?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,955

    Default Re: Not Returning a Holding Deposit

    I've seen language online stating that if I suffered a financial loss and the prospective tenant is at fault or tried to deceive, then the holding deposit does not have to be returned, but there was no legal reference for the statement.
    No, there isn't likely to be a statute on this and you'd probably have to look up hundreds of cases to find one that exactly matches your situation.

    All you can do is go to court and explain why you are keeping the deposit and hope the judge sees it your way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,049

    Default Re: Not Returning a Holding Deposit

    I'm not optimistic for you. Not only is she likely to get a judgment for the holding deposit, you may be responsible for other damages. If you wanted to make rental contingent on the particular tenants or their criminal history, then you needed to make that clear at the outset. Unless you explicitly required all occupants to be listed on the lease, the mere presence of the word "applicant" means little. A person who is not intending to be bound by the lease (i.e., obliged to pay), isn't an "applicant." The losses YOU claim to have suffered are due to your own mistakes. The tenant may indeed have suffered damages from not being able to move in (storage for her belongings, temporary housing, etc..).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Not Returning a Holding Deposit

    So it sounds like it doesn't matter if she intentionally tried to hide the fact that he was going to move in. To me 5ha5a deception. She did say " it would be hard to find a place with him on the application", "she tried to be honest with me" and "was debating all month how she should tell me because she was thinking I did not know" . I realize I should have made her complete the Co applicant line, but I, unfortunately, did not.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,646

    Default Re: Not Returning a Holding Deposit

    Quote Quoting mirtide
    View Post
    So it sounds like it doesn't matter if she intentionally tried to hide the fact that he was going to move in. To me 5ha5a deception. She did say " it would be hard to find a place with him on the application", "she tried to be honest with me" and "was debating all month how she should tell me because she was thinking I did not know" . I realize I should have made her complete the Co applicant line, but I, unfortunately, did not.
    What would completing the Co applicant line make different if he was not a cooaplicant? There is no obligation a person be a cotenant generally. He could simply be an occupant under her tenancy.

    I dont see the tenant being at fault at all here. From what you’ve written you accepted her application with just her as tenant. His financial condition wasn’t relevant to you renting the apartment to her.

    You refused to rent to her once you found out who she was going to have living with her. She didn’t ghost you.

    Not only do you owe her the holding deposit, she might actually have a claim against you for her damages.

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