Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Maryland

security deposit

my landlord advertised the house i am in as owner financing or lease option, i needed to move immediately due to foreclusre and she new i was desperate for a place for me and my children in may 2007 i gave her a 20,0000 deposit to buy the house with owner financing, after she got the deposit she told me her lawyer said she cannot do this because she doesnt own the house, she was to put this into a interest bearing escrow account till i could get financing, in november she told me she could do owner financing now but in january she gave me a outrageous lease for lease to own, i told her i was moving and need my deposit back, she now refuses and said she can keep 7000 for backing out and the rest i have to move first to get security back, i informed her that legally she cant keep any because she backed out of agreement since she could not deliver what she promised and that only 2X rent can be secuirty.

Asked on 2/09/09, 1:12 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

Re: security deposit

You should never have given her such a large deposit without a signed purchase contract or lease with a purchase option included at an agreed upon rent. Now she figures she has leverage over you. In any event, if there's no written agreement she cannot legally keep your deposit. She is certainly entitled to rent for the time you've lived in the house at whatever amount you agreed to. MD law (Sec. RP 8-203) provides that if the landlord fails to comply with the landlord-tenant law regarding withholding of a security deposit, she may be liable for up to 3 times the amount withheld plus legal fees. Consult an experienced landlord-tenant attorney for more details.

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Answered on 2/10/09, 4:41 pm

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