Can I rescind a renewal lease which has not yet started and has not been signed by the landlord?

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Can I rescind a renewal lease which has not yet started and has not been signed by the landlord?

Currently I am at the end of a 1 year lease at my apartment, which expires 07/26/10. Back in May, I went to renew my lease for another 9 months through April. I have now received a new job and will be relocating, but the leasing office will not let me out of my renewal lease which has not even started yet. They thing is, they never signed the renewal lease; my signature is the only 1 on the page. They just provided me a copy which is not signed or witnessed. Is this a binding agreement? I am afraid, though, to point this out to them because they could just sign it and put their word against mine. What would be the best way for me to proceed?

Asked on July 16, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract and under general principles of contract law, a contract is binding when it is signed by the "party to be charged."    In other words, it is binding when it is signed by the party who has to live by the obligations that are listed therein.  That would be you.  It is true that both parties to a contract should sign it but as you pointed out, they hold the original and could sign it.  Does the original lease, though, speak to the issue of the renewal and a signed contract by a certain date and time?  Is your in violation or breach of that provision?  I would take the lease and the renewal to some one to read.  Also, ask if your state has any provision in the law that allows you to break a lease legally doe to certain circumstances (sometimes relocation for a job is one of them) without any legal repercussions.  Good luck.


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