Can we disqualify someone for not having the deposit?

We are new to this and are offering our property as a Rent To Own, in order to get it occupied quicker than a sale.  We're moving across the country and are not comfortable "just renting" from such a distance, but will do so locally, in the future.   When screening applicants, we tell them that the property will remain available until they give us the deposit to hold it, even if they're approved.  The remainder would be due by the time they move in.  Then, we approved a tenant, who originally claimed to have ALL monies necessary (deposit, first month's rent, plus option fee), but when notified of the approval said that he didn't have the deposit and would need a few days.  When I said we'd continue to show it until then and let him know if someone else gets it, he got upset and said he'd get the money, even if he needed a payday loan to get it.  Upon hearing this, my husband emailed him, telling him that we would hold his application and keep it on file, and contact him if we didn't find a more qualified tenant.  To us, his not having JUST the deposit money (knowing he'd have to come up with that, plus about $1500 more in just a few weeks) and lying about it disqualifies him.  Are we within our rights to do this?  Is there a better way to go about things, so this doesn't happen again?  We're currently in Florida, if that matters.

I believe that it is the lease...

I believe that it is the lease that is binding and I am presuming you have not signed the lease. Again, presumably you have told them that you have approved them becoming your tenants but until a lease is signed, that hasnt happened. I am certain you are right here but that doesnt mean he cant make a claim. As an aside, this seems good validation of my practice of signing the lease last. If you gave them a signed lease and told them to bring it back with their check, they could go home. sign their sig lines and claim to have a legally binding agreement. Would love to hear if there is a reason not to practice this? 


I'm with Ink. You are not binded to this prospect. My experience tells me if someone is not financially ready to move-in when submitting application, there will probably be problems during the term of lease with paying rent.

When you start off with prospects knowing you will wait on funds, then they instinctly think that will fly later. The property will be shown until someone qualifies with deposit ect...

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