What does the lease say? If no lease, is there anything in writing that describes the charge? Receipt, memo, advertisement? Other document? any witnesses to the agreement?
fee is generally construed to be non refundable whereas a deposit is construed to be refundable-these definitions are not part of the "written law" but comes from the common law of contracts
a security deposit is defined in the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law as "any deposit of money or property to secure performance by the tenant under a rental agreement.
" see here: 5321.01 (E) there is no right to have a pet in rental housing. the fee is for the privilege.
What do we think is going on?
Prospective tenant gave a deposit to 'hold' a unit.
Prospective paid an an application fee
Landlord requires a pet fee not a pet deposit
Landlord suggests that tenant can save money by buying a security bond, instead of paying a security deposit