If I gave perspective landlord 1st month’s rent plus deposits but have since changed my mind, can they keep any portion of the monies that I gave them?

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If I gave perspective landlord 1st month’s rent plus deposits but have since changed my mind, can they keep any portion of the monies that I gave them?

I have not signed a lease or taken possession of the property. I have since changed my mind and no

longer wish to move into the property. I gave 1st month rent and security/pet deposits.

Asked on January 31, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, when there is no written lease, there is still an oral month-to-month lease. By giving the landlord 1 month's rent plus deposits, you agreed to lease the space--to a month-to-month oral lease. A month-to-month lease always binds the tenant for at least a month, possible two--while it can be terminated on a month's notice, the obligation to pay rent accrues on the 1st day of a month in advance, so if you gave notice you were not going to rent (you *must* give notice; without notice, regardless of whether you move in or not, the rental continues) on, say, any day in January after the 1st, you'd owe rent for January and *also* for February, since the notice would not have been timely enough to stop February rent (due in advance for the whole month on Feb. 1) from accruing.
When you stop renting, the landlord is entitled to rent for any time you were renting. Say you decided early or mid-January, after giving the deposit and 1st months' rent, that you did not want to rent. At that time, you would owe January and, due to too-short a notice, Feb. rent, too. So would owe two months' rent. The landord could keep your 1st month's and security  deposit to satisfy that obligation.


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