Can my landlord do this?

I was supposed to be renting a place from someone I know. His father and one of his friends owns a house that I was renting the basement from. After 2 1/2 months of waiting for it to be fixed up, I decided to go with something better suited to myself that I am able to move into right away. I did however give a damage deposit before Sept as I was told it should be ready within a few days. Now that I have told my landlord I will not be moving there, he wants to keep my damage deposit. I never signed anything and I was lead to believe numerous times that it would be ready, therefore missing out on many opportunities to find something else. What can I do? How should I go about dealing with this?
Updates:
I have a reciept from the bank with the amount I deposited

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Most Helpful Guy

  • You don't really.

    Never give someone money for any sort of business transaction without having it documented. Now it's your word against theirs. They could just say "She never gave us any money, we collect deposits when the lease is signed." And there's not much you can do to prove otherwise.

    Just learn your lesson and move on.

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What Guys Said 3

  • Tell him you expect him to treat you fairly and that he can expect a visit from your Italian uncle with the Jersey accent.

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  • You gave money without paperwork? Ouch. You can try pursuing it with legal action but without paperwork... ouch...

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    • @update: then you can just check for renting laws and go from there and file for a suit if nothing is resolved.

  • check your local city's official site for renter laws. Well, should be on your city's website. Or at city hall. Point being, there ARE renters laws. But if you never signed something, ehh...

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What Girls Said 1

  • You backed out of the agreement, that might legally give him reason to keep your money.

    also, as far as the update, OK, you have a receipt for a deposit, but is there anything that says what the money was for?

    All you can do is try and work it out or involve a lawyer...

    How much was the deposit? It might not be worth a lawyer...

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