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Old 08-03-2015, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
11 posts, read 30,462 times
Reputation: 18

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My cousin signed an application document at an apartment community in Brighton that calls for a holding deposit, about $800.00 (one month rent). He didn't have the money though so our grandmother paid the holding deposit for him via personal check.

Well, the day he was supposed to move in and sign the lease he got cold feet and decided not to. Per the terms of the application document he signed he would not be entitled to a refund of the holding deposit at that point but I'm wondering since my grandmother never read nor signed the document in question should she be entitled to a refund?

No lease was ever signed and no one ever moved in. My grandmother plays no part in this except for writing a check. I realize it was my cousin who should've avoided this scenario in the first place and my grandmother who never should've gotten involved but legally speaking, can this apartment community really keep her money based on an agreement that she never read or signed herself?
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:15 PM
 
1,510 posts, read 1,338,414 times
Reputation: 2258
The way I see it, your grandmother loaned your cousin the money that he then used as a deposit, and has zero involvement with the apt.

As for the holding fee, please ask yourself how you would feel if the landlord rented the apt to someone else? The company was holding the unit for YOU and turning away other potential tenants. You can't have it both ways.
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Old 08-03-2015, 05:54 PM
 
Location: New York
1,610 posts, read 1,634,674 times
Reputation: 1952
The landlord/management is entitled to keep the deposit. Your grandmother can sue your cousin for the money she lent him.
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
11 posts, read 30,462 times
Reputation: 18
Thank you both for your feedback. I understand where you're coming from. If we can't get it we can't get it but I think it's worth clarifying a couple points.

1. It would be tough to characterize my grandmother's payment as a loan to my cousin since she wrote the check directly to the property and was given a receipt for it.

2. The amount in question was for a holding deposit which then becomes the security deposit upon execution of the lease. It wasn't a fee.

I understand JW from your response that you think what I'm probably not being fair to the property. I here you and don't completely disagree but I feel that it's a little unfair to take a full month's rent as a holding deposit when they may in fact recover that from another renter, probably will in all likelihood. Not to mention, my grandmother had no understanding of the terms and didn't sign anything. I could understand a processing fee, holding fee, maybe even partial refund based upon the property's ability to re-rent but just pocketing it all seems a little much given that a lease was never signed.
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Old 08-04-2015, 01:01 PM
 
303 posts, read 362,129 times
Reputation: 608
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doylejg3 View Post
I could understand a processing fee, holding fee, maybe even partial refund based upon the property's ability to re-rent but just pocketing it all seems a little much given that a lease was never signed.
It's hard to rent a property mid month and it takes some time to line up tenants and go through the process again. If a landlord could scramble and get tenants to move in mid-month, then it would be decent to return a partial amount for the difference in rent, minus perhaps for the additional time needed to make a game change.

The holding fee is fair and was signed by your cousin. The actual source of the money is irrelevant. It was submitted as a 'holding fee' subject to consequences for breaking that agreement. Have your grandmother sue your cousin.

I bet the landlord is sighing in relief. Wanting to go after the landlord when it was clearly your cousin at fault- sounds like it would have been a nightmare tenant. Instead of asking how you can get out of this, your post should be: 'What steps do I take to have my Grandmother sue my cousin' to get back the money lost by an irresponsible action.
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:18 PM
 
351 posts, read 240,448 times
Reputation: 697
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doylejg3 View Post
1. It would be tough to characterize my grandmother's payment as a loan to my cousin since she wrote the check directly to the property and was given a receipt for it.
It's actually not tough to characterize it that way it all. She wrote the check on your cousin's behalf, if that isn't a loan then what is it? She just wanted to give the property management company $800 for no reason?

I agree with everyone else here, your cousin screwed up and if anything is owed, its $800 from your cousin to your grandmother. It doesn't matter if she read the signed application or not, he did and he broke the agreement with her money.
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Old 08-04-2015, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
11 posts, read 30,462 times
Reputation: 18
Thanks for responding kgb and Benny. I admit, the obvious solution is for her to seek the money back from my cousin. She is expecting reimbursement for that and hopefully that will happen. $800 isn't an amount that either of us feels is worth taking a family member to court over. Worst case scenario, they both learn a bit from this experience.

My main issue is that he was never made aware of the terms agreement. If she had, she may have decided to act differently. The agreement allows the signer a refund minus a small processing fee if they decide not to take the apartment by a certain date or if they're credit / background check comes back negative. Here's the scenario: agreement signed on 7/15, deadline for backing out 7/25, cousin backs out on the day the lease is supposed to start (7/31).

It probably seems like I'm splitting hairs here, but they should've maybe had her co-sign the application or something. If she had known about the deadline, maybe she would've pulled the plug on his behalf. Or maybe she would never had agreed to such terms.

Obviously, she wrote the check on behalf of my cousin, but legally speaking, he never had possession of that money and it's questionable to me if the terms are valid since the person who actually made the deposit didn't agree to the terms.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:04 PM
 
351 posts, read 240,448 times
Reputation: 697
You're still trying to blame the landlord for something your cousin screwed up. Maybe they should have made her cosign? Maybe she should have asked to see the lease, or maybe your cousin should have just showed it to her, or maybe your cousin shouldn't have backed out of the agreement at the last second.

I get that it's an expensive lesson to learn, but people like this are why I would hesitate to ever own a rental property.
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Old 08-04-2015, 06:47 PM
 
1,510 posts, read 1,338,414 times
Reputation: 2258
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doylejg3 View Post
I admit, the obvious solution is for her to seek the money back from my cousin.
Are you kidding me? The grandma is now FORCED TO SEEK THE MONEY BACK from her grandchild? The grandchild should be at her door tomorrow with $800 in CASH and take grandma out to lunch for her troubles.

BTW your cousin should have the $800 on his person, because how else was he to pay the first months rent that was due before moving in. (August 1st?)

I think the landlord got lucky. This person would have had an "it's not my fault" story every month.

I'm a landlord myself, and it's disheartening how often I see people try to twist and turn out of self created issues.
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