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My Fiancee and I paid a security deposit on an apartment, but didn't sign a lease. We chose not to take it. Can they sue?

Erie, PA |

My Fiancee and I recently visited an Apartment complex this week. We liked what we saw, signed applications to apply for it (including background check, etc) and put down a $630 deposit fee. However after some financial situations with our family, we were forced to back out. Are we still held liable for anything else since we didn't sign a lease?

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Attorney answers 1


No, if you did not sign a lease you are not liable for anything over and above the charges stated in the application (application fee? credit-check fee?). If this was a true "security deposit," then it should be returned to you. However, if it was a non-refundable deposit to hold the apartment during your application review, then the landlord can keep it. Take a look at your application for the appropriate language.

Further, you should immediately provide the landlord or management company notice in writing that you would like to withdraw your application and that you do not intend to sign a lease.

Good Luck.

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Marshall Chriswell

Law Offices of Marshall D. Chriswell
714 Philadelphia St., Suite 200
Indiana, PA 15701
(888) 438-5977
(724) 465-5826


Marshall D. Chriswell is a civil practitioner with offices in Indiana and Clearfield Counties. Mr. Chriswell's practice emphasizes Wills & Estate Planning, Probate, Real Estate, and general civil disputes.


Mr. Chriswell provides free initial consultations, and will gladly meet clients in their homes upon request, including on the evenings or weekends.

This communication does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, feel free to contact our offices.