FACTS:                    

A potential tenant inquired on a rental.

After submitting an application to the property manager, the property manager sent a text message to the potential tenant advising the tenant that his “application was accepted,” and to send a $500.00 deposit to the office. The property manager notified the potential tenant that the $500.00 earnest money was nonrefundable.

No lease had  yet been signed by the potential tenant.

ISSUE:                      

Can the property manager ask for a nonrefundable deposit prior to a lease being signed?

ANSWER:                

See Discussion

DISCUSSION:         

A.R.S. § 33-1321(B) states: The purpose of all nonrefundable fees or deposits shall be stated in writing by the landlord. Any fee or deposit not designated as nonrefundable shall be refundable.

Because the property manager has not indicated in writing what the nonrefundable deposit is for, the property manager’s request is improper.