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  1. #1

    Angry Recovering Deposit and First Months Rent After Backing Out of Lease

    Hi,
    I have a young friend who is only 17, married with a small child. He recently looked at an apartment in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. He inquired about getting some "help" from several government agencies and was told he was elegible for foodstamps, etc. He rented an apartment, paid a $475 security deposit and $475 first months rent. The next day he found out he was NOT elegible to get the help he was told the day before he was elegible for. Without the assistance, he could not afford the apartment. He called the landlord within 24 hours of initially giving him the deposit and first months rent and explained that they would not be able to afford it. He was told by the landlord that he could not refund any of the money! Is this legal in Pennsylvania?
    I understand that the landlord should perhaps retain a portion of this payment for his inconvenience but, I cannot believe it is legal for someone to just basically rob this young couple of almost $1,000 either. I could see if they waited a week or two and just changed their minds but this was less than 24 hours and it was due to circumstances beyond their control.
    Btw, they were not required to sign a lease and they did get a receipt for the $950. Does the fact that neither the husband or wife are 18 come into play here?
    I just hate to see these kids get ripped off. Any help or suggestions would be most appreciated.
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Steve

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Recovering Deposit and First Months Rent After Backing Out of Lease

    With no written agreement and a month-to-month tenancy, at worst he should be able to end the tenancy on one rental period's notice. You didn't tell us the move-in date, which could also affect how much rent he might recover. If the landlord won't refund anything, your friend can sue in small claims court.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Recovering Deposit and First Months Rent After Backing Out of Lease

    Thanks for your help. I ended up having a little "chat" with this landlord and told him I was going to give these kids the money to see an attorney unless he at least gave them the security deposit back and he reluctantly agreed. I guess these kids have learned a valuable but expensive lesson about life in the "real world".
    Thanks again for your reply!
    Steve

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