To give the security money back or not

4 Replies

I have a property that is good ways for me that I put with a property manager. About a month ago the property manager called and said that they had an application from an applicant and told us a little bit about the applicant and we approved it. Now it seems that they approved an application and it would start a month after the fact. They gave the applicant the keys today the applicant looked at the property and said it had an odor and now wants to have their security deposit and first months returned to them. I definitely don’t want to hold somebody to a rental agreement if they don’t want the place, but didn’t know why they would hold up the property for so long site unseen and now want to back out. The property manager is putting pressure on us to agree to give them the security deposit and the first months rent back. Of course the property manager is the one that has those funds. 

First question is there an odor or are they making it up.  If the house has an odor figure out what is causing it and get it fixed ASAP.  I feel there is always a risk of renting sight unseen and prefer people to view in person before handing over the deposit. If they are just making it up they get no refund and need to be held to the contract.  If there is and you can remedy in a reasonable time they should also be held but prorate rent.  If they don’t end up moving in I would tell them they are responsible until a new renter is found but you will return whatever is left over.  I can see where the pm would want to return it to get them out of their hair but it is you that will loose out in this.  Have you already paid them for tenant placement and will you have to pay them again for a second.  If there is a smell I also question why they didn’t know about it.  If the rental had been vacant for a month or more you would hope they would check on it before handing over keys to make sure that no issues came up while no one was there.  

@Joe S. I would have the PM check to see if they smell an odor. If yes, give the tenant back their money, and get the odor resolved. Ask why this wasn’t caught during the turnover.

If the PM can’t notice any odor, I would be less sympathetic. Let the mom out of the lease with the security deposit, but keep the months rent. Or something similar. The PM shouldn’t be agreeing to losing a few months rent for a phantom smell.

@Adam Martin

@Mike McCarthy

So I talked with the property manager again and they said there was an odor for sure. It is what it is so I told the property manager to give them their money back. :-(

I am trying to figure out a way of resolving the odor. 

Definitely a unique situation. If the tenants are easy to with, and haven't moved any furniture into the property, let them go with the full deposit. 

Still, you'd think the tenant would have noticed that type of smell while checking out the property initially.