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

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

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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