I listed my townhouse with a realtor. After several showing, we finally found a tenant and signed the contract. The tenant gave the first

Asked by Rippedoff, New Jersey Mon Apr 26, 2010

month's rent which will go towards the realtors (50-50 commission). Since the tenant could not come up with the security deposit, he withdrew from the contract (forfeited the first' month deposit). My question is, do the realtors allowed to keep the commission since they really did not find me a tenant??? It seems unfair to me that they get to keep the commission (and not a penny for me) when I am the one inconvenienced.

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T.E. & Naima…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Apr 26, 2010
That's weird. A commission isn't payable until "earned". You do indeed need to read your listing agreement as to when is the commission is considered earned.

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Mon Apr 26, 2010
Talk to your Realtor about this and see.

Also, look closely at your listing agreement and see if there's some sort of provision regarding that situation. Also, determine whether you technically, in fact, did get a bona vide renter. If the lease called for payment of the first month's rent and security deposit--and then the applicant never produced the security deposit--it might be argued that the lease was never finalized. Check with a lawyer on that point.

Although agents don't make much money at all from rentals, it sounds as if your "tenant" should have been better screened. The Realtor I use (yes, I'm a Realtor, but I like using someone who's a real pro at rentals) for a rental I have does a very thorough screening--credit and background check, checks with previous landlords, etc. In the future, make sure that you're using a Realtor who really focuses on rentals.

Hope that helps.
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