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Pre-Lease Required Security Deposit Without Availability To View Lease

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Junior Member
I'm curious if its legal for a landlord to require a security deposit right away after the background check completes in order to put you in the waiting list and not making the lease available prior to that requirement so that you can view it over before entering the pre-agreement. This is important because if you decide that you don't agree to the actual lease then you forfeit your security deposit! They claim that this is entitled to them because they won't advertise for that month the property you reserved in your name. I see that point, but the practice of not allowing you to see the full disclosure of the lease seems shady and should be illegal.


Senior Member
Dont do it and if you did and you do not agree with the terms of the lease then threaten small claims court to sue for refund of the dep paid. If you have not given up any money feel free to tell them Its too bad they refuse to allow you to see the lease first, because that in it self its the deal breaker. As to something being legal or not with landlord tenant laws many things state by state are spelled out. But its the things that are not that sometimes states legislative bodies see as abusive and then end up creating a regulation sometimes.


As mentioned, we need to know what US state you are in. It may also be necessary to clarify whether this is a fee to be on a waiting list or a fee/deposit to either hold the unit for you or ensure you actually move in.

In Washington State the landlord may not require a fee or deposit from a prospective tenant for the privilege of being placed on a waiting list to be considered as a tenant but they are allowed to charge a fee or deposit to hold a dwelling unit or secure that the prospective tenant will move into a dwelling unit. There other requirements that go along with that holding fee/deposit.

Some other states MAY have similar restrictions.

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