What constitutes a valid signature on a lease?

I signed my lease last year but my landlord wasn’t there to sign, so the real estate agent signed it for him. Now he is trying to evict me without going to the court and getting legal eviction papers. I need to know if my lease is considered invalid and can he collect on rent owed?

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the real estate agent had the authority to act on behalf of the landlord, the real estate agent could sign the lease.  Agency is an area of law where an agent representing the interests of the principal (the principal here is the landlord) acts on behalf ot the principal.  A lease is a contract between landlord and tenant.  The landlord's agent has the authority to sign the lease on behalf of the landlord. it would appear that the real estate agent had the apparent or inherent authority to act on behalf of the landlord by signing the lease, and therefore the lease is valid. 

It would be difficult to claim the lease is invalid after you have been living there  and paying rent for more than a year.  If the landlord pursues eviction. the landlord must comply with the notice requirement and all laws pertaining to eviction.  The laws pertaining to eviction vary from state to state.  You can challenge the eviction if the landlord does not follow the legal procedures.  If you successfully challenge the eviction in court due to the landlord's failure to follow the requisite legal procedures, this can significantly delay the eviction process requiring the landlord to start over from the beginning with the required legal procedures.  It would be advisable to speak with a landlord/tenant attorney and preferably one who represents tenants.

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