Should tenant pay security deposit before the lease is signed by both parties landlord and tenant?

I am in the process of sub-renting a furnished room from a sub-landlord. The sub-landlord sent me a copy of month-to-month lease, which she has not signed, through email. She asked me to sign it and scan/email back to her. She also asked me to sent her the security deposit, which is a month’s rent. Should I send her the security deposit before she signs the lease? What is the general step by step when signing a lease with a sub-landlord?

Asked on July 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Jest tell her once you receive a signed copy back from her that you will remit the lease deposit.  It's not a bad idea to have her sign as well before you hand her over the money. Generally, she is bound even before she signs (the oral lease is valid) as long as the lease isn't for longer than a year, but it's still a good idea to have it in writing--because it's much easier to prove.

This is really a separate issue, but if sending a check a receipt is not necessary, but if you are paying with cash or money order make sure to get a receipt.


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