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Old 11-29-2009, 10:26 AM
 
1 posts, read 13,837 times
Reputation: 13

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We recently put down a security deposit and first month's rent on a house in Los Angeles. We have not signed the lease or moved in yet. After a walkthrough at the house, we took the lease home to examine before signing. Several statements and promises made by the agent are completely contradicted and overall the terms of the lease are very harsh. Upon further investigation we found a plethora of complaints online against this realty/mangement company. Can we get out and recover our security deposit and first month's rent?
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Planet Earth
1,080 posts, read 3,064,129 times
Reputation: 850
I'm not sure what the law says but why would you give first month's rent and security deposit before signing a lease? On every lease I've ever signed I give rent and security at the time I sign the lease. If they wanted something to hold the apartment usually they charge you a small fee to hold it for a day or 2. I had to give $100 non-refundable once to hold the place for 2 days. They put that $100 towards my first month's rent and if I didn't sign the lease it was theirs.

If they are a crooked company they will probably try to keep some of your money.
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:53 AM
 
4,805 posts, read 21,716,700 times
Reputation: 5003
Did you fill out an application when you gave them the deposit, or before that? Usually you fill out an application and they do a credit check, and then you give them your deposit. Then you sign the lease. Most applications I've completed state that if I back out of the lease, I forfeit my deposit. If you signed a similar application, you could be out the deposit.

What exactly are the terms that you find problematic? Oftentimes lease wording sounds very punitive when really it is just boilerplate language. You may have agreed to similar wording in the past and not even known it.

As for online complaints--be really really wary of these. Rarely does a person happy with a situation complete an online review. I've read a lot of apartment reviews during my searches. You really have to read between the lines. Oftentimes the reviews are old--a comment about problems with the heat in 2003 could easily have been remedied by now. Sometimes comments are made by people who don't even live there, but merely looked at a unit. More often than not, the reviews are about things that aren't really problems. Here's some reviews about an apartment building I happily lived at for 6 years:

"The lightbulbs always need changing!"-- Um, yeah, that happens.

"Management won't sign for my prescription deliveries from across the street!"--What are they, mom and dad?

"They raise the rent every year!"--Yeah, that's the way it works.

"Too many disabled people live here"--Where do I even begin with this one.

"Mail is misdelivered"--So complain to the USPS. They are the ones who deliver the mail.

I can only laugh at these comments. They are so absurd. I wouldn't read too much into online reviews.

Last edited by kodaka; 11-29-2009 at 12:01 PM..
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:58 AM
 
4,399 posts, read 9,911,091 times
Reputation: 2368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Californiaconcerned View Post
We recently put down a security deposit and first month's rent on a house in Los Angeles. We have not signed the lease or moved in yet. After a walkthrough at the house, we took the lease home to examine before signing. Several statements and promises made by the agent are completely contradicted and overall the terms of the lease are very harsh. Upon further investigation we found a plethora of complaints online against this realty/mangement company. Can we get out and recover our security deposit and first month's rent?
They can't keep both but might be able to keep the rent. This is sometimes a subjective issue, if you haven't signed anything.
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL (Mandarin)
2,520 posts, read 5,845,371 times
Reputation: 1781
As has been mentioned, be wary of online reviews about management companies. There are always two sides to the story, and those reviews are usually made by a disgruntled ex-tenant. Also, some "review" sites don't offer a means for rebuttal by the other party, so if the complaint was resolved, there's no way for anyone to know.

Regarding your sec deposit and advance/1st mo's rent, barring any written language in your application process, you shouldn't have an issue getting your money back. Of course, your state's law will dictate the details on how it should be handled.
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:31 PM
 
525 posts, read 1,345,758 times
Reputation: 465
Has the check you issued cleared the bank ?

I would run to the bank and stop the check and then call the management company and tell them you changed your mind.

Just my opinion , consult legal advice.
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:11 PM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
16,081 posts, read 26,277,006 times
Reputation: 18120
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachouse View Post
Has the check you issued cleared the bank ?

I would run to the bank and stop the check and then call the management company and tell them you changed your mind.

Just my opinion , consult legal advice.
If its still possible to cancel checks, I agree.

If not, By law they're required to return all monies minus the holding deposit.

First months rent and security deposit must be refunded, no lease has been signed.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:53 AM
 
26,951 posts, read 43,089,329 times
Reputation: 15240
Why on earth did you pay before signing....it could be seen as an verbal agreement, why would you otherwise pay sec. deposit and first month...so I guess they don't have pay everything back..it could be seen as a month to month rental.
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