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Old 07-21-2009, 11:59 AM
 
1 posts, read 3,578 times
Reputation: 10

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I recently rented out my home to a guy who urgently needed to move in on the 15th of the month. I live several hours from my rental and could not meet him personally so most of our communications were done by phone or email. He went to view the house on the 10th of the month, I had an agent show him the property. He decided he did not want a month to month lease but a six month lease and I complied with his request. I rewrote the contract and had the agent give him a copy that day. If interested in the property I told him he would have to fill out and sign the application, and a already signed conrtract that was left with the agent, send me I.D. SNN# and if he wanted the six month contract would need to do a credit screening report which I requested by email directly from the service. After viewing the home he told the agent he would call me later. He called the very next day (saturday) saying he was interested but would not be moving in until the 15th. I told him that if he wanted me to hold the property for him he would have to pay first months rent 600.00 plus a already 50% discounted deposit of only 300.00. Since I knew the agent would not be available I suggested he directed deposit the money into my husbands account. I told him he would have to send all the required information immediately to me and he said he would. He deposited on 600.00 instead of the 900.00 owed but I figured I could just prorate and left it at that. I didn't receive anything that day or on Sunday, so I called him, no answer. Monday came around and I had not received anything I called him again and finally he said his girlfriend had sent everything to me and he had left his phone at work. In the end he did not send anything to me, I called and emailed again. The 15th came around I called and emailed again. On the 18th he finally called saying he had an emergency, he add a ill relative and he would not be moving in. Technically his move in date was the 15th. He didn't call me until the 18th. I already took the house off the market and lost potential renters who had called regarding the house. He expects all of his money back because he NEVER signed a lease.... I told him I would return $300. and keep $300. which I consider a holding fee which would have been used as a deposit upon move in. He is arguing the point that he didn't sign anything therefore I should return everything. What should I do?
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,457 posts, read 16,694,640 times
Reputation: 2599
Do you have the application filled out and signed? No paper, no proof. Lesson learned...do not take money without an application. If you do not have the application or a signed lease, return the money. You could prorate the 3 days he kept you waiting. divide the rent by 30 and keep 3 days.
I never play that game with people. if you want to live somewhere, you need to be there to see the place, fill out the application and do all the paper work up front. If you have an agent or property manager, they should have taken care of it. never have money added to your personal account...it could be emptied just as easy.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:55 PM
 
25,881 posts, read 49,817,806 times
Reputation: 19326
What Shane said regarding lesson learned plus...

In California no written Lease is required for rentals up to one year... Oral agreements are perfectly valid as long as you can prove it.

California Oral Rental Agreements

In an oral rental agreement, you and the landlord agree orally (not in writing) that you will rent the rental unit. In addition, you agree to pay a specified rent for a specified period of time - for example, a week or a month. This kind of rental agreement is legally binding on both you and the landlord, even though it is not in writing. However, if you have a disagreement with your landlord, you will have no written proof of the terms of your rental agreement.


California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs

You could forward him a copy of the Department of Consumer Affairs Landlord Book explaining that a signed written agreement is not required under the law and let the chips fall where they may... or agree to refund any or all the deposit...

I never except any money prior to completion of a fully executed rental agreement... this lets all parties know the unit is still available and being marketed...
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