Can a landlord keep your security deposit if you never actually move in because of an employment issue?

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Can a landlord keep your security deposit if you never actually move in because of an employment issue?

I accepted a new position out of state. We signed a lease about 6 weeks ago on the 30th. and took possession on the 1st. That very afternoon an unrelated incident left me no choice but to rescind my acceptance of the new job. While we know the lease indicated that there was a 60-day early termination, we spent less than a week in the house, did not move in 1 stick of furniture and we know that there was a new tenant in the house by the 1st of the following month (3 weeks later. Do we have any recourse for demanding a refund of some type (1st month + one month’s security deposit = $2,250)?

Asked on August 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your work issues are not, to be the blunt, the landlord's concern: once you sign a lease--which is a contract--you are bound to its terms,  even if  there was a very good reason for not taking posssesion of the rental. Furthermore, whether or not you moved in is not the landlord's concern, either: you rent the right to possession, or the right to move in, but you are equally bound to the lease whether or not you do in fact move in. Normally, you could be held liable for the entire term of the lease (e.g. for a full year) once you sign it; if the lease allows you to only pay 60 days of rent, you are actually fortunate.


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