If a lease has a handwritten notation on it, does it invalidate the lease?

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If a lease has a handwritten notation on it, does it invalidate the lease?

On the day my daughter signed her lease she made a handwritten notation on the top corner that she needed to give them “2 months notice” before moving out. When move in day came, she realized the apartment that she rented was not nearly as nice as the model they had shown her, bad carpet, old vents, etc. She moved in anyway and has since then been dealing with the kitchen sink backing up, the secure entry does not work, uneven steps. etc. The office says she must sign a new lease because the one she wrote on is invalid. She would really like to move out. Can she?

Asked on August 30, 2011 Nebraska


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If your daughter made a handwritten notation on the lease for the unit that she is now occupying after the landlord had signed the document and the landlord did not initial this handwritten notation, then the landlord is not obligated as to the terms of the handwritten notation.

The handwritten notation does not invalidate the lease in and of itself. There is just no agreement regarding what is stated in the handwritten notation by your daughter.

If your daughter wishes to move out of the unit she is renting and if the rental term is more than a month-to-month, then she can do the following:

1. refuse to sign the new lease that the landlord wants her to sign and be bound by the terms of the lease in effect;

2. enter into a new lease agreement where she is on a month-to-month  term or a term that she desires;

3. enter into an agreement with the landlord where the lease she signed is deemed ended and she has no further obligation as to term and she can move out by an agreed upon date.

Good question.

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