Actually, it depends on the owner or management company. The application fee is not returned because it pays for your credit check. Usually, if you do not get the apartment, and you did not do anything wrong, your good faith deposit is returned. Even when you get the apartment, your good faith deposit is usually returned. The deposit is usually kept when you apply for an apartment and change your mind after the owner or management company has taken the apartment off the market. You have to ask the agent if the deposit will be returned if you do not obtain the apartment. Generally, the agent lets the owner know the price that you want to pay, and the owner or management company lets the agent know that the price is acceptable or if he/she has a higher offer. There are some applications that state that you will lose your deposit if you do not get the apartment. You should know if you could possibly lose your deposit before you submit your application.