CanI get my deposit back if thelandlord breaks the lease before I even move in?

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CanI get my deposit back if thelandlord breaks the lease before I even move in?

Signed a lease last month for apartment under construction (NY state). The landlord said it would be move-in ready the middle of next month (its in the lease contract as the start date for the lease). The apartment won’t be ready now until after the first of the month after that. They told us we need to sign new “amended leases”. The lease says we won’t be “compensated for any time difference if the apartment is not ready” but can we get our deposit back if we leave and find a new place to live? I’d like to think so since the lessor is the one who broke the contract. Doesn’t this make it void and we are entitled to our money back?

Asked on July 19, 2011 New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are on the track for trying to resolve the problem you face with the landlord over the unit you agreed to rent that is not ready for move in by reading the written lease you have for it. The written lease typically dictates the obligations that the landlord and tenant have as to each other for the unit to be occupied.

The lease date in your agreement sets forth the start of occupancy. If the unit will not be ready for occupancy until a after the agreed upon date and you need to move in on that date and not later, the agreement is voidable, meaning at your option you can ask for your deposit back (and be entitled to it) and move on to find another unit to rent and not be obligated for any rent. If you still want the unit, you can wait for it to be ready, move in and abide by the lease's terms for monthly rent and the duration of the lease if it is for a stated term as opposed to a month to month.

Good luck.


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