Rental Basics in 33129>Question Details

Morroquito, Renter in 33129

We signed a lease in 2009, the landlord sold the apt. May-11 he didn't transfer the deposit to new owner. How can we get the money back?

Asked by Morroquito, 33129 Tue Aug 2, 2011

Neither the ex-landlord nor the new owner want to give us back the deposit, what should we do in this case. We know for sure the new owner's realtor omitted to tell him that the unit had a lease going on.

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5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
I'm not a lawyer, so this isn't legal advice. For that, you need a lawyer. However . . .

Whether or not the deposit was transferred, it is the responsibility of the new owner to refund it. (I've know several investors who got burned that way. They bought a property with a tenant. Upon expiration of the lease, the tenants asked for their deposit back. Even though the investors hadn't had the deposits transferred to them, they were responsible for refunding it.) The point is: When the property was sold, the new owner took over responsibility for all the terms of the lease. And if the lease provides for the refund of the deposit upon lease termination (which I assume it does), then that's the responsibility of the new owner.

I would not follow Raisa's advice: "I would stay until I use my deposit." That would be a violation of YOUR lease.

As a practical matter, I'd suggest trying to negotiate something with the new owner (who is responsible) and the new owner's Realtor (who you indicate made the mistake). Failing that, I'd suggest taking the new owner to Small Claims Court.

Good luck.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Stay an extra month for free if you don't have to go right away ! How do you like that ? Don't give back the keys ! Stay in possession of the property ! You will see who gets annoyed here. Reverse the problem.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
Thats a very good question,
first thing i would do is get a copy of the HUD or closing statement, on this papers you would see if the deposit really got transferred or not...... maybe the new owner is just saying he never got the deposit because he doesnt know better. Next thing find out who the closing agent was he or she is the one responsible that all the numbers match on the closing statement, plus everyone should have been aware of the fact that the condo was rented on the day of closing..... so all the the parties should have know that a deposit needs to be taken in the calculation.
If the deposit didnt get transferred at closing your old landlord needs to give it back to you.
And as my colleague said small claims court is a good option.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
Good Afternoon Morroquito,

It does appear you have been given some sound and some not so sound advise. I am not an attorney either, but I would never suggest to you to live out the deposit amount, as this may cause you more trouble that it would be worth, not to mention it could possibly be a violation of the lease. The best suggestion of course is to have an attorney address this for you, but I would first send a letter to the new owner to address your concerns and given the rental deposit amount is not that big, they may be willing to work this out with you. A couple of things here are not clear here, are you still living in the unit, when is your lease due to expire? Or have you already moved out and are looking for your deposit back? If you are looking to remain in the unit and/or the new owner wishes to keep you on as a tenant, this could be something that the two of you come to terms with. The new owner may not have gotten the deposit transferred, and he/she would need to have that addressed himself through his agent and the title company that did the closing. It also all depends on how his sales contract was written. I would first start out by trying to work it out with the new owner.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 3, 2011
Usually contract provide addendum in which the owner transfer the deposit to the new owner and also disclose that where and how much is the security deposit. Suggest is to connect with the Listing Agent who, has all and has answer to you. By the way in Florida when you rent you suppose to have a Landlord and Tenant Act which describe very clear what to do with situation like this. Go to FLORIDA'S LANDLORD/TENANT RIGHTS and there is enough information for you to proceed by law. Morroquito, I suggest to you to talk to a new owner and selling agent and I'm very pretty sure the Selling Agent and Listing Agent are going to help with this situation. Communication is the KEY. Have a nice day.

Call me I can provide the information about Listing and selling agent if you can give the property address.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 3, 2011
The real answer as to whether the new purchaser is liable or the seller will depend on the laws in your State and the contract between the buyer and seller. While some States have laws that say the new owner is responsible, whether he got the deposit or not, is not true in all States. Therefore, only an attorney licensed in your State can answer that question with any accuracy. If you are in Texas and acting on advice from a CA Realtor then you may not be getting the correct advice.

Your other option is Small Claims Court and you should consider filing a suit against both and let the Judge decide who owes the refund.

As to an offset against last month's rent, the answer will depend on what your Lease says. I urge you to seek legal advice.

Jack Gillis, M.B.A., J.D.
Jack Gillis Realty Advisors
Nathan Grace Real Estate, Broker
5619 Dyer Street | Suite 100
Dallas, TX 75206
Cell: 214.718.4910
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
Thank you very much Oliver, we are going to contact them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
Thanks for your answers.
In this case we are talking about $700 for the deposit, the monthly rent is $1225. If for the last month we just pay the difference which will be $525, do you think we will be sued by the owner? or can you suggest an attorney. We live in Brickell Ave.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
I do not have experience in this matter, but if the new owner did not asked for the deposit, it is his problem. I would stay until I use my deposit. Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
Hello Morroquito,
Do you still have your receipt for the security deposit, how much money are we speaking about? If yes the new owner is liable for the refund not the old owner, check with a Real Estate Attorney. Options are, hire an attorney (if you win the case and you should, your fees will be included in the settlement), small claims court (do it yourself for very little money and your fees will be covered if you win) or depending on how much money we are talking, stay in the property for an extended period of time without paying rent that will cover your loss.


Bob Bailey
Florida Licensed Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
I would suggest Small Claims Court.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 2, 2011
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