If I signed a lease and paid a partial deposit for a house, what type of recourse can I take against the landlord if he reneged on the agreement?

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If I signed a lease and paid a partial deposit for a house, what type of recourse can I take against the landlord if he reneged on the agreement?

I was dealing with the landlord and the realty company he hired. We all e-signed the lease on line and everything was set, so I thought. A few days before the lease was to go into effect the landlord had the realtor call me and tell me he was interested in another person and that he did not want to lease the place to me, even after signing the lease! I told the realtor how can he do that and when should I get my deposit returned. She stated that she can send it but I end up paying the money gram fee to have my own money sent to me. This became very inconvenient as I now live with family members and there isn’t much room.

Asked on December 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract: once it is signed and agreed to--and particularly if that agreement is then further evidenced by paying a deposit--the landlord is obligated to rent to you, so long as you do not breach any material (important) terms of the lease yourself. In this case, the landlord could not choose to rent to someone else other than you. You could sue the landlord for the costs you have incurred due to the breach, such as any broker/realtor/agent fees you paid, moneygram fees, the cost to store any of your belongings (such as in a self-storage facility) and, potentially if you rent a different, but similar, home for a higher price, the difference in price between what you would have paid had the landlord not breached and what you are in fact paying.


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