Am I liable if I never signed a rental lease agreement

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I liable if I never signed a rental lease agreement

I am renting a room in a property. I have another roommate who is on the lease
and has signed. I applied for the property, was accepted, but never signed the
lease agreement. In fact I am sure the property manager who handled my
application was fired. I emailed the property management company requested to
sign the lease to no avail. Now I want to move out and gave my roommate a 30 day
notice. I just want to make sure I am not liable.

Asked on February 7, 2019 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there is no written lease signed by you, you are on an oral (uwritten) lease or agreement. An oral lease is a month-to-month lease; therefore, you can give a month's notice terminating your tenancy. But it must be a full month at least; so for example, today is Feb. 9. You can't give notice for March 9, since in that case, your landlord (see below) does not get a full month notice. You'd have to provide notice now for March 31. This is because leases start at the beginning of a month and end at the end of a month, unless there is something in writing to the contrary setting a mid-month start and end date.
As to who is your landlord--who do you pay rent to? If you pay it to the property manager or owner, that is your landlord. If you pay your roommate (and he pays the full rent to the property manager or owner), he's your landlord--you are subletting from him. The person you pay to is the one who must get the notice.

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 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.

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