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How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

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Latest post Thu, Jul 28 2016 3:49 PM by Drew. 23 replies.
  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 8:24 AM

    • neonpigs
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    How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    In my search for New York city apartment sharing I responded to an advertisement to share a 3 BR apartment in Manhattan and paid the main tenant 1 month rent, my share of security deposit and application fee to submit my application as occupant of one of the 3 Bedrooms to the rental management office.

    10 days after my payment for this process I learned that I am being laid off and I informed the person who has the current lease whom I paid the money that I cannot go through with the deal to sign the lease and I wanted refund of my deposits paid. She has been dragging her feet and avoiding to answer my all attempts to contact her.

    What legal options do I have to get refund of this money. I do have a hand written note from the main tenant lady who I gave these money itemizing amount for Fisrt month rent, security deposit, advance utility payment for first month and application fee with her signature and copies of my cashier's check.

    DOes the New york city small claim court is the best way for me to handle this situation toget my refund.

  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 8:43 AM In reply to

    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    You broke the contract. I fail to see why you are entitled to the refund? You gave her a deposit and even though you were laid off which sucks, you are not entitled to anything back. If she decides to refund anything consider yourself lucky. She now has to start the process all over and find a roommate.

    You can ask that she refund something out of financial hardship, but I am not sure why you think you are entitled to it all back?

    What exactly did you sign and agree to?

     

  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 8:54 AM In reply to

    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    neonpigs:
    What legal options do I have to get refund of this money.

    Depends on the terms of the agreement you made with this person before you gave her the money.  You made an agreement in writing, right?  If so, what did it say about refund of the money under certain circumstances?  Note that you didn't say how long it had been since you requested the return of the money or what response, if any, she has given you.

     

    neonpigs:
    DOes the New york city small claim court is the best way for me to handle this situation toget my refund.

    Probably, but that obviously depends on whether you're talking about an amount of money that is equal to or less than the jurisdictional limit of that court.

  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 8:57 AM In reply to

    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    OliviasMom:
    you are not entitled to anything back

    This is an interesting conclusion in light of the question at the end of your post (which is a question that must be answered before any conclusion can be reached intelligently).

  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 9:14 AM In reply to

    • neonpigs
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    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    July 6th 2016 after responding to the STreeteasy.com rental apartment share adevertisement I paid the main tenant looking for roommate 1st month rent, security deposit, application fee and 1st month estimated utility bills. I was to move in on Augut 1st 2016.

    The idea was that the lady was suppoed to submit my rental application to the apartmnent office for approval of me as one of the occupying tenant. SHe gave me a hand written note with her signature fore reciept of these checks which also indicated that my application will be submitted to rental office (land lord).

    Other than my application and her handwritten note there is no lease agreement or contract signed yet. On July 18th 2016 upon getting layoff notice from my employer I told her that I sent he text message about the situation and requested refund. to which now she is not even answering my calls emails of phone calls.

    Other than my checks I have not signed anything in this transaction

     

  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 9:17 AM In reply to

    • neonpigs
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    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    I have not asigned lease or any other agreement excpet I did pay her 1st mnonth rent deposits and application fee to process my application as one of the tenant sharing the apartment.

    Before I get formal approval or time to move I got laid off and I immediately sent her text that I will not be able to sign the lease and requested the refund.

    There is no written agreement or lease except that she did give me handwritten reciept of all the money she recieved and an application will be made to the rental office for me.

  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 10:24 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    If you broke a contract, you may be up the creek ...but it is not entirely clear if a contract was created or merely an offer subject to further review . Would you be a sub tenant  or a new tenant ..who is to be the LL...in general if you merely submitted an offer you can withdraw your offer any time before it is acceptet by delivery of withdrawal to intended LL...unless the written application says otherwise ...some do. 



  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 1:17 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    If you gave this person money with nothing in writing governing the return of any or all of the money under any particular circumstances, you're likely hosed, but small claims court is (or is supposed to be) cheap and easy, so you likely lose little by giving it a shot.

  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 4:23 PM In reply to

    • neonpigs
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    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    Hello all expert responders Drew, Ca19lawyer2 

    As I indicated I gave the lady and she did give me in writing exactly following with adress of apartment I was to move in with her and another person in 3 BR apartment.

    $1850 - First month rent advance

    $100 - Estimated utility for first month

    $2000 - Towards security deposit

    $125 - Application fee to be given to rental management company to approve me as third tenant of this 3 BR apartment.

    Before I got notified by formal approval of my application I lost my job and I informed her and requested refund of my money.

    There is not formal signed lease except that she gave me itemized receipt of my payment with her signature.

    Is this constitute a contract enforcable by New York city courts? Please advise

     

  • Tue, Jul 26 2016 5:03 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    This seems a bit like an offer to enter into a contract ....and your offer has not yet been accepted ...I would immediately if not faster sent out written/email retractions of your application or intent to execute a lease...to the LL   AND the tenant who played middleman ...It may or may not work...but it's sure worth trying .

     

    I think your application fee is history ....bit the deposits and rent are up for debate .....put heat on BOTH the RM and LL agent 



  • Wed, Jul 27 2016 8:52 AM In reply to

    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    A receipt is not a contract.  It's merely an acknowledgement that A gave certain things to B.

    A contract is a mutual agreement supported by consideration.  Whether you can prove that you and this other person had an agreement that provided for the return of some or all of the money you paid under the circumstances described isn't apparent from your post.  My best GUESS is that you might get the deposit and utility payment back but not the rest.

  • Wed, Jul 27 2016 11:28 AM In reply to

    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    I did a little googling, and according to this Q&A (see the 6th question, from Mandy), verbal rental agreements are valid and enforceable in New York as long as they are not for periods longer than one year.

    So unless the lease was going to be for longer than one year, you need to think hard about what you said to this lady.  Did you agree between you that you would sign the lease and move in if your application was approved?  If she says in court that's what you told her, your having given her all that money could sway the judge towards believing her.

    One thing you COULD try:  get in touch with the rental office immediately and tell THEM you lost your job.  Quite likely they will then disapprove your application, if they still have it and didn't already approve you.

     

    Other things I found out from my googling:  Landlords in New York have no legal obligation to mitigate damages (make a serious effort to find a replacement tenant) when a tenant breaks a lease (see this), and there is no specific deadline for landlords to return people's security deposits (see this).

  • Wed, Jul 27 2016 12:31 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    karen2222:

    I did a little googling, and according to this Q&A (see the 6th question, from Mandy), verbal rental agreements are valid and enforceable in New York as long as they are not for periods longer than one year.

    So unless the lease was going to be for longer than one year, you need to think hard about what you said to this lady.

    You're talking about the statute of frauds.  It is the law in every state that MOST verbal contracts are enforceable.  The statute of frauds is a law that provides that certain types of contracts must be in writing in order to be enforceable.  One such category is for contracts that, by their terms, are not capable of being fully performed within one year of formation.

    Here, the terms of any lease (which the OP has indicated he/she didn't sign) aren't particularly relevant here.  What is relevant are the terms of any agreement (whether written or verbal) that relate to the money the OP gave this person.  My best guess here is that the OP gave this person money without even considering that there might be circumstances under which he/she might want the money returned.  While something in writing would be nice (because verbal contracts can be hard to prove), it's not strictly necessary, but I suspect it's neither here nor there because I further assume that there was no discussion -- much less an agreement -- about such circumstances.

  • Wed, Jul 27 2016 5:43 PM In reply to

    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    ca19lawyer2:
    My best guess here is that the OP gave this person money without even considering that there might be circumstances under which he/she might want the money returned.

    ca19lawyer2:
    I further assume that there was no discussion -- much less an agreement -- about such circumstances.

    I can easily picture the lady requesting OP's firm verbal commitment to sign the lease and move in as soon as (s)he is approved, and asking for all that money upfront as a sign of good faith to back up that verbal commitment.

    If that is what happened, would OP not now be in breach of a verbal contract?

  • Wed, Jul 27 2016 6:10 PM In reply to

    • neonpigs
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    Re: How can I get refund of my goodfaith deposit ?

    Dear Karen and CA19lawyer - Thanks for further diggining into this. Yes I did demand that as soon as the building rental management approves me as co-tenant I will pay the 1st month rent and security deposit that she is asking. As she is already living in this apartment she did have say in who she wants to present as possible 3rd co-tenant and she wanted to control whoever submits the application and she wanted committment before even the approval process. I learned that she never submitted my application to the rental managemet (LL) company.

    So I have difficult time to undersyand what she was upto..until I actually try to move in as planned on August 1st 2016

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