If I didn’t sign a renewal lease, canI move out without having to give a 60 day notice as per my old lease?

My lease was supposed to be renewed in May of this year but all my landlord had me do was put a check on a piece of paper saying that I agree to pay the raised rent for a year. I never signed an official renewal lease agreement. I have the opportunity to move out soon and would like to move without having to pay a break lease fee. So if I never signed an official lease agreement, can I do this legally? The lease agreement states that 60 days notice should be given to break the lease but since I never signed it, do I need to give that much notice?

Asked on September 17, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If there is no written lease, then typically you leasing under an oral lease (sometimes mistakenly called a verbal lease). The notice requirement is 30 days for an oral lease, under which you a a month-to-month tenant.

2) However, if you signed or "checked" anything, it's not impossible that would be found to be a renewal of the lease. Even if a court would not so consider it, it is possible that the landlord would feel that you did renew the lease and try to hold you to it, in which case you'd potentially be sued. Even if you won, that can cost you money.

If at all possible, the better course--to avoid having to defend yoursel from a landlord action--would be to provide the 60 days notice.


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