If I took a deposit, do I have to rent to the person?

3 Replies

After going through showings and application, my business partner told a woman she would not relist the house (would pull the listing from Craigslist) if woman put down $500 good faith money to hold the place (rent is $1400/mo). Move in was 6 weeks away at that point. We just received the deposit -- 4 weeks later and only 2 weeks until move in. Annoyed (before the deposit check arrived), I relisted the place a few days back and have several hits worth pursuing. Do I have to rent to the original woman? Should I?

@Brad Thomas , It sounds like you removed the listing before you received the deposit check? And after a period of time you relisted, then the deposit check arrived. Have you cashed the deposit check? Do you have any signed contracts with this person?

@Mindy Jensen , the checked just arrived a few minutes ago, so I have not deposited it. There are no signed contracts. Interestingly, the check is dated 9-15-15 -- a month ago and when we originally expected the deposit. I'm having trouble getting a read -- did this person flake just this one time, or will this be a pattern? Note: I have 4 other properties and have made good calls on all other tenants. They're good people and have never missed a payment in 3+ years. My partner handled most if this process.

@Brad Thomas

Only take a property off the market when you have cash in hand. I would not accept a personal check either as those bounce.

I would call the tenant and tell her that the check was mailed to late and that you will be sending it back to her and will be renting the property to other potential tenants.