What constitutes a valid lease?

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What constitutes a valid lease?

I signed and emailed a lease agreement with an apartment complex 4 months ago that was to begin this month. They did not provide me with a signed copy of the lease until I went to their office asking to downgrade the lease. When I asked for a copy, they pulled the lease from audit and quickly signed it in front of me. It states, “This Lease will become effective only when signed by the Resident, Guarantor and (name of the complex) representative.” It also states in the lease under the section for deposit, “A total of $300.00 must be received by (name of the complex) before this Lease can be executed.” However, I never paid the deposit. Can I walk away? Is this an executed lease?

Asked on June 11, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It most likely is a valid lease:

1) They sent you the lease, which you signed; they then signed after that (when you asked for a copy), even if not immediately after. Nothing in the language you quoted indicated that they had to sign right away or immediately after you. Therefore, when they did sign it, it then became effective.

2) Even without them signing, generally when party A sends a contract (lease) to party B and B signs it, the law allows the contract or lease to be enforced against B, who signed the document thereby accepting the offer to enter into a contract extended by A in sending them the contract (lease).

3) The deposit would be for their benefit, not yours; the party for whose benefit some term or condition exists has the right to waive (or give up) performance of that term or condition, so they could wavie the requirement for the deposit and hold you to the lease.


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