Nonrefundable rental deposits stir debate

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Q: We listed our rental on craigslist, which listed key terms, including a provision that the pet and cleaning deposits were nonrefundable. A couple contacted us and visited the rental, and we agreed orally, (and) with a handshake, to lease to them. It was clear to everyone that the deal was premised on the terms described in the craigslist ad. Now our tenants are leaving, and they claim that the pet and cleaning deposits should be refundable. The ad is archived, it cannot be edited, and it plainly says they are not. If we do not return these deposits and our ex-tenants take us to court, will we win based on the clarity of the ad? --Charles and Angie G. A: No lawyer in her right mind would predict a win for someone who's headed off to court. No matter how much the law and the facts appear to be in someone's favor, it's impossible to predict the outcome. A lot depends on how the case is presented and, of course, the sensibilities of the judge. That's why the most common an...