Can a landlord sue you if you sign a lease, give 30 days notice, and do not move in?

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Can a landlord sue you if you sign a lease, give 30 days notice, and do not move in?

I am getting out of my lease to relocate for better job opportunities, I gave them 30 days notice, I have not moved in, the did not require a deposit, no money has switched hands. They said that they will file it against my renters history and send me to collections to collect lost monies. I do not currently live there.

Asked on July 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unless your lease specifically said you have the right to terminate it on 30 days notice, there is no right to do this--that is, the law does *not* give people the right to terminate their leases without penalty by giving 30 days notice. You can only get that right from the lease itself, if it provides it. Also, there is no requirement that you pay a deposit, move in, and/or that money change hand for the lease to be binding. Rather, as soon as you sign it, you are obligated under it--which means that if you breach the lease, even if you never moved in, you have in fact committed a breach and can be sued and have it reflected on your credit history. Note that the landlord doesn't actually even care if you move in or not--he or she does care about the money, and that is what you are obligated on--you have to pay the rent due under the lease, and the requirement to pay comes into effect as soon as you sign the lease.

If there is no written lease, however, it's a different story: if it was an oral (or verbal) lease, then it created a month to month tenancy and you can legally and safely terminate it on 30 days notice.


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