Clients often ask if they will get their application fee and deposit back if they change their mind or are not approved for an apartment.  This is a complex issue with a few different answers, so read on for an thorough investigation.
The application fee and application deposit are two separate things.  The application fee is what you pay the landlord to process your application and generally covers things like a background and credit check.  The application deposit is the amount the landlord requires to take the apartment off the market and hold the unit while they process your application.  
Generally, if you change your mind on the unit, then the landlord will keep the application deposit.  If your application is rejected, then the landlord should return the deposit.
On the other hand, application fees are almost never returned, whether you are rejected or change your mind, unless the landlord doesn’t post the eligibility criteria and then you are rejected. 
Texas Law doesn’t specifically address whether you get your application deposit back if you change your mind, so it’s up to the individual agreement you signed. Some application agreements state that if the applicant doesn’t sign the lease within 3 days after the application is approved, then the landlord can keep the entire application deposit.  Even if it is not addressed in the agreement, landlords often keep the application deposit if the applicant later decides not to lease from the landlord.  
It’s always worth talking to the landlord and seeing if they will be reasonable about returning at least part of your deposit if you change your mind, especially if they are able to rent the apartment again quickly.
Need help making sure you find the perfect place before you sign an application?  Want to be sure you’ll be approved for an apartment before you plunk down cash?  San Antonio Apartments Now can help by showing you all the apartments that meet your criteria and only showing you those where you will be approved.  Give us a call today at 210-255-3074.