I receive e-mails everyday from folks about questions to renting out rooms. Questions range from what to do in a given circumstance or how should I go about doing such and such. These are all good questions and I respond to each and every one of them.
I want to share one e-mail I received from CM concerning the security deposit. Her e-mail reads as follows:
Hi Mike I posted a roommate on the 1st of this month. He put $100 deposit and then on the 9th he calls me after he said to take it off the site and that he wanted it. I had 3 responses that day,but he gave me the money first and he seemed nice, so i did. Now he wants the deposit back and now i had to repost my room, no luck so far. What am i to do? CM
My response to her e-mail was as follows:
Thanks for reaching out, I've been in the situation where I've received multiple responses on the same day. I don't know exactly the order your event occurred, but as soon as I had the deposit in hand, I would have taken down the post because he's locked in and really wants the place. In my experience if someone is willing to commit money as deposit(I would do deposit and 1st month rent) they're showing an sincere interest. The other replies you received could have been casual inquiries that may not have panned out to actual roommates. It's too bad you had to give back the deposit and repost your room - going back a step when you were a just a mere step from securing a roommate.
She responded with the following e-mail:
But i haven't given him the money back yet. I spent it thinking he was moving in. Now he wants it back..Would u give it back or what?
I followed with:
Tell him the room is still available for him to move in, if doesn't want to move in, then you'll have to give the $100 back. To be frank, that security deposit wasn't suppose to be spent.
CM and I went back and forth a bit more, arguing what happens with the security deposit. Nevertheless, she’s standing by her actions because she called several apartment complexes and stated that apartment complexes don’t refund the deposit if the person backs out after 9 day of securing the place. That’s a pretty weak argument for keeping the deposit. In reality, the deposit should never be spent.
A lot of people verbally commit to something, but once money gets involved, people tend back out. Think about it, when your friends ask you if you want to go to such and such concert, you say “Okay, I’m in, sounds fun.”
When it comes to putting down money, you begin to think twice.
That’s what the deposit is for. It’s simply earnest money to show sincere interest.
Now, I’m not sure why this guy wanted his security deposit back, the best I can infer was that CM didn’t take down her advertisement and the guy thought the room wasn’t secured even with a good faith deposit.
I’m all about being fair, if I had a person secure my room, I would take down the advertisement. There’s no reason to keep it up there any longer. Additionally, the three inquiries may not have panned out to actual roommates.
That’s an e-mail I wanted to share with everyone.
One of my roommates is moving out at the end of the month. I’ll be on the search for a new roommate. The places I’m going to advertise are:
- roommates.com(yes, I paid for 2 month subscription at $19.99 to view profile details)
I wrote about why I don’t have friend or co-workers as roommates when I’m a live-in landlord. If I find a new roommate, this will be the 12th different roommate that has moved in.