Never moved in but won’t return security deposit!

By Tenant


My husband and I decided we needed to move across town to make commuting to work easier. We put in our 30 day notice and began to look for a new apartment.

I found an add for a town home and called the owner who set up an appointment the same day for us to see them. My husband and I really hit it off with the apartment manager who lived in the complex. She was such a sweetheart and before we knew it we had been in her office for an hour talking! She even filled us in on their secret way of rating applicants on their applications and told us she gave us a A+. She let us know we were definitely approved. We verbally agreed on the deposit, rent and pro-rate and when each would be due. I know now we should have had her write it down at that time. She said she would hold the apartment for 2 ½ weeks (when our 30 days were over at our other apartment) all we needed to do was give them the security deposit ahead of time.

We came in the next morning with the deposit. She gave us a receipt and we agreed on the move in date. She let us know she would call 5 days prior to our move in with our new address. That way we could set up our PG&E, cable and internet to be transferred. We never heard from her. Since it was the weekend we decided to call on the next business day, Monday (2 day’s before our move in day). An extremely rude man with a very thick accent answered the phone and informed me she no longer worked there. He was hired three days before was the new manager. It took a while for him to understand I was not already a tenant but would be moving in. He finally found our paperwork and told me we needed to pay more on our deposit if we wanted to move in. I was shocked!! I told him the security agreement we had with the manager before him. He told us it didn’t matter and again repeated that he was the new manager. I can’t begin to tell you how upset I was finding out all this only 2 days before we were supposed to move! I told him we needed to speak with the owner to clear all this up but he refused. I was very lucky I still had the owners phone number from earlier in the month. I called him and of course he seemed extremely surprised to hear from me. As our conversation went on he became more rude and confusing. He first told me he had to fire the other manager because she was making decisions and promising tenants things without talking to him. Later after I explained what was going on, he agreed with the new manager. He said we had to pay the extra amount and told me she would have never charged us so little. In other words my husband and I were lying! He was so rude and extremely insulting to me I was in tears after I hung up. My husband called him to try and settle the situation but the owner simply made insults towards me and yelled at my husband. Just a tip for all the owners out there, don’t insult a man’s wife and expect him to be OK with it!!! My husband told him we wanted our deposit back and we were not moving in at which time the owner hung up on my husband! We were in such shock that anyone could act so childish!

We ended up going to the apartment complex. I wrote a letter stating we wanted our security deposit refund and would not move into their complex. I gave the reasons why and explained how rude and unprofessional they had been. I also told him I wanted things settled smoothly but if I had to I would take legal action against him to have our money returned. The letter was faxed over to the owner and we were told our deposit would be sent to us.

2 ½ weeks later and we contacted the manager to check the status. He told us he had no idea what was going on. At that point I e-mailed the owner and have not heard a word since.

I did some research online and found this situation had happened to another individual who had lived in the same complex. They said they were going to take him to court. I’ve been looking up the laws for tenets and security deposits. But I haven’t found anything that would be similar to our situation. I’ve only found information on tenants who are moving out and trying to get their deposit back.

Any helpful ideas??   


Edited on: Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 3:17 am

2 Responses to “Never moved in but won’t return security deposit!”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


September 14th, 2010 3:51 am

No need to sue your landlord!

There is a better solution than taking your landlord to court. Not only is the court process not fun, it can be expensive. All you need to do is file a complaint with the Rental Protection Agency. The RPA takes complaints like this all the time. I’ve used the program for another non-related landlord problem, and now I’m a huge advocate of the program. Filing a complaint allows you to take control of the situation. When you file a complaint you will receive a case number. The Agent assigned to your complaint case will contact the landlord to get your deposit refunded promptly.

The best part… it gets documented against the landlord as a public record. So, it will protect other tenants from making the same mistake. I should mention, that as part of my settlement, I had my complaint record removed from the public record database– My landlord insisted, so I complied in order to get my complaint resolved. Still the same, the program was a huge benefit to me. I can’t afford much when it comes to legal help, so the $35 fee was perfect for my situation. (I did upgrade to include the certified option which requires the landlord to sign for the legal paperwork sent by the RPA– I found that most people recommend the upgrade. I think that cost me an extra $15 or so.)

You’ll have to decide how important it is to get your deposit back. I’d do it just for the whole public record thing. Landlords need to be held responsible for their actions. They can’t just keep people’s deposits. Here’s the complaint form:


December 16th, 2012 6:28 pm

Is rpa in california?

EDIT: Yes, RPA is available in all 50 States including California.


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