Tenant changd mind after paying security deposit - other prospective tenants were turned away

Sunday - Woman views apartment and then returns later that day to get her sister and brother in laws approval.  They approve - she immediately pays one month rent deposit and wants to move in 5 days later.  I remove ad from Craigslist and turn down another taker for the apartment and cancel another prospective from appt. Tuesday - I sent her an e-mail as she requested with instructions on utilities, etc Wednesday - Woman changes her mind and already rented another apartment I was in the middle of driving my husband home from the doctor when I received the phone call.  I was shocked, so she said she was ok with speaking to me later.  I have already deposited the security check.  I'm not sure if she stopped payment on the check it or not.  Other prospective tenants are no longer available to rent the apt. Do I owe her the entire security deposit back?  This is in Pennsylvania

Did she sign a lease anywhere ...

Did she sign a lease anywhere in this transaction? A "security deposit" is not really the same as a deposit to hold the apartment. Meaning that a security deposit is really a deposit in case she dafaults on the rent at some point or breaks something that needs to be fixed. So the real issue is that if she signed a lease then she would also be defaulting on that lease and you could apply the security deposit to her missed rent. If she did not sign a lease, then you are talking about a verbal agreement and I would advise you to talk to a lawyer about how a verbal agreement stands in PA. 

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