Can a lease be broken after a lease is signed if no money has changed hands and before the tenants have moved in?

UPDATED: May 10, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: May 10, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a lease be broken after a lease is signed if no money has changed hands and before the tenants have moved in?

Asked on May 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract: once it is agreed to, it is binding on both parties, even if no one has yet moved in or no money has as yet changed hands. (Generally speaking, moving in or not is irrelevant to the enforceability of a lease--people can and do lease property that for one reason or another they do not move into.)

The tenant would typically only have grounds to either rescind or terminate--i.e. break--the lease if:

1) The landlord does not or cannot delivery possession--i.e. the ability to move in--of the property.

2) The property is essentially uninhabitable or not usable for its intended purpose.

3) The landlord committed fraud--that is, the landlord knowingly lied about something important in regards to the property or the terms of the lease, to get the tenant to sign the lease.

4) The landlord violates some other important provision of the lease--for example, the lease including rental of a garage, but the landlord is keeping his cars in it, so the tenant cannot use it.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption