Land Lord is giving our home away!

Asked by Stacey, New Jersey Wed Oct 15, 2008

We are 4 girls that were planning to move into a 4 bedroom apartment. The day that we were suppose to sign the lease on a specific day; but when that day came; the landlord explained that he didn't have the paperwork ready. We then just gave him the security deposit & he explained that we had the house & it will be taking it off the market. Now two weeks have passed & we get a call sayign that his family is having problems & he may need to move them into the place we have already agreed to have. Can this landlord do this? He cashed the security deposit two weeks ago & the date was set to sign the lease this weekend. When he agreed that we had the apartment; we then told our current lanlord that we were moving & were not re-signing our current lease for another year. This is a huge inconvience!

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Laura Gianno…, Agent, Manahawkin, NJ
Thu Oct 30, 2008
Did you give him the check with nothing in writing? Better speak to an attorney.

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Warren, NJ
Thu Oct 16, 2008
Hi Stacey, similar thing happened to a client of mine - we thought we had a rental secured and then the owner pushed the date ahead two weeks which put us back to square one.

Unfortunately, we were in the same boat - no written lease in place at the point that we received the news regarding the date change and so we had no recourse. We brushed it off, and spent an entire day looking for a quick rental and in the end found something that suited the couple even better.

You have the additional wrinkle of the cash security deposit - talk to an attorney about getting that back right away.

Then I say, get together with an agent and find another rental - and when you do sign all paperwork promptly so that you do not run into the same issue.

Rentals are moving quickly - so be prepared to sign, and have checks ready. Also, I'm quite sure that credit checks and employment verification will be required so have that prepared.

Good luck - I hope that your situation works out as my clients did - in the end, they found something that suited them even better.

Jeannie Feenick
Search and connect at
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Gina Chirico, Agent, Fairfield, NJ
Wed Oct 15, 2008

As Joan stated that lease would have protected you and without a written agreement you have no recourse. With that being said, the security deposit you gave him -- was it check or cash? Especially if it was cash, did he provide you with a receipt? If it was a check you can prove that you paid him and in the event he tries to pull a fast one. Have you asked him to return the deposit yet? If you do not use an attorney then you should sent the letter requesting the deposit back via regular and certified mail.

Have you asked your current landlord if he rented the place yet? Perhaps you can renew your lease.

It is in your best interest in proceeding to find a new place to rent that you do not provide a security deposit or up front rent monies, etc. until the actual time of signing the lease. Also make sure you make copies and have receipts for all deposits given under the terms of the lease agreement.

Sorry about your inconvenience and good luck finding a new place and with getting your money back.

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
Prudential New Jersey Properties
973-715-1158 cell
973-992-6363 office
0 votes
Joan Prout, , Basking Ridge, NJ
Wed Oct 15, 2008
The document that would have given you the RIGHT to move into the house is the lease that you have not signed yet. He'll have to give you the security deposit back, but he doesn't have to let you move in. If you have an attorney who can write a letter to the landlord for you demanding the return of the deposit, it might look more compelling than your writing to the landlord yourself. (In any case, seeing he has your money, it's probably a good idea that all correspondence be in writing.)

Good luck with this.

Joan Prout, MBA
Broker Associate
306 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
201-946-2700 x310
800-671-0596 x1 (direct)
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