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If the damage deposit was paid to one person, who was going to be the acting landlord, but the situation changed and the money was given to the actual landlord, who would be responsible to returning it to a tenant in the end?

Order of events

  1. Several roommates move into a house owned by Bob. The initial (verbal) agreement was Joe was supposed to be the acting landlord who would sign the lease for the whole house and collect rent from everyone else and give it to the landlord.
  2. Jane paid her portion of the damage deposit to Joe.
  3. Joe gives Bob everyone's damage deposit
  4. The actual owner (Bob) comes by a few days after everyone moved in and has everyone cosign a lease (which is unclear whether it's tenants in common or cotennancy).
  5. Joe moves out of the house and the landlord returns his portion of the damage deposit to him. A new roommate takes over Joe's place and no new contract is written.
  6. The lease comes to an end but Jane never gets her damage deposit returned.

Does Bob or Joe owe Jane the damage deposit? If relevant, another tenant, named Steward, always collected the rent and made the lump sum payments to the landlord.

2

If I can summarise:

  1. Jane gave money to Joe on the understanding that he would give it to Bob,
  2. Joe kept the money.

This is matter between Jane and Joe, Bob is not involved.

Edit

The OP has stated that Joe did give the money to Bob.

In that case, Joe was acting as Jane's agent and he discharged his agency. This is a matter between Jane and Bob, Joe is involved only so far as he was a witness to what happened.

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