If I signed a lease for an apartment but no money ever exchanged hands and I never moved in, am I liable for any rent?

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2016

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If I signed a lease for an apartment but no money ever exchanged hands and I never moved in, am I liable for any rent?

They have filed a bad note on my credit saying I owe an entire year worth of rent. Is this legal?

Asked on February 15, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are absolutely liable for your rent, based on what you write. A lease is a contract; once you sign a contract, you are obligated to it. It is your act of signing that obligated you--the contract/lease is effective when you sign, and does not need to wait for the first payment to be enforceable. And it is irrelevant when or if you ever moved in--that has nothing to do with your obligations under the lease. So if you signed a year lease, in doing so, you became obligated that moment for a year's rent.

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