If Igave2 weeks notice thatI wouldn’t be moving into student housing, amI required to pay rent on it even thoughI never moved in?

I signed a lease for off campus student housing 10 months ago. The lease date was from as of 2 months ago and ran for 9 months. I informed them ruffly 2 weeks before move in date that I can’t afford school so will no longer require housing. Yet they still require me to pay rent. Is this legal? Am I responsible for payments for a room that I never even stepped foot in?

Asked on November 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is completely legal, and the fact that you never stepped foot in the room is, unfortunately, completely irrelevant.

A lease is a contract: when you signed the lease, you were entering into a contract to pay rent in exchange for getting possession of the housing. Once you sign that contract, you are obligated, and the other party may hold you to your obligation--you do not have the right to simply decide, even for very good or practical reasons, that you do not want to honor you obligation. Therefore, once you signed, you had to pay.

The landlord does not care whether you actually choose to live in the space you rented or not; you owe the rent even if you never step foot in it. The landlord does not care whether your reason for renting the space changed or went away...all that matters is that you signed the lease.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you signed a written lease for student housing and the school as well, you need to carefully read it in that its terms and conditions contol the obligations owed to you and vice verse in the absence of conflicting state law. You need to carefully read the terms of the written lease to see if you are bound to a term in the student housing dorms.

If you have contractually agreed to a set term, you are bound by it. The only way to possibly get out of the lease is if you were under 18 years old when you signed it. You should contact student housing in person to see if it can get someone else to assume the lease. Good luck.

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