After signing a lease do I have a timeframe in which I can back out and get my security deposit refunded?

My roommate and I signed a lease a 3 days ago with a move-in date of 30 days after. Since then the landlord has not followed through with giving us the month to move in and the apartment is in worse shape then it was when we looked at it.

Asked on July 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no period of time during you can rescind your lease once signed--once you sign it, it is a binding and enforceable contract.

However, if the apartment was not ready and available to you when it was supposed to be, that could be material, or important, breach of the lease, if either the landlord knew that the move-in date was critical to you, or in any event if the delay is much more than a few days or a week or so.

Also, if the apartment is in such bad shape as to not be liveable, that could be a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, or the requirement that rental premises be fit for their intended purpose (e.g. residence).  If the landlord does not correct this situation after notice and a chance to fix it, that can also provide grounds to terminate the lease and tenancy without penalty.

From what you write, if the delay is long enough or the apartment in bad enough shape, you may be able to get out of the lease. If in doubt, consult with a landlord-tenant attorney, who can evaluate the specifics of your situation and advise you as to your rights.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.