If a tenant agrees to a lease via e-mail, pays security/rent and moves in but never returns the signed lease, is it still legally binding?

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If a tenant agrees to a lease via e-mail, pays security/rent and moves in but never returns the signed lease, is it still legally binding?

I wrote up a lease, had numerous e-mail correspondences, received the first months rent and security. I had work to do on the house, so left two copies of the lease signed by me on the counter for the tenants (two adult women). They have been in the house almost 2 months, paid me on time with two checks (which I photocopied), one from each tenant, but never returned the signed lease. Now one of the tenants is refusing to sign the lease. Should I have the other tenant at least sign and return a copy? Should I not worry as long as the rent keeps coming in?

Asked on June 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In the situation that you are writing about where you do not have a written lease signed by the tenants but they have confirmed such in an e mail and have moved in, you have a binding lease with the tenants albeit under the law, the lease is now a month-to-month lease (thirty [30]) since the tenants have not signed the written lease.

Your option is that if the tenants do not want to sign the lease your provided them is to serve them with a thirty (30) day notice of termination of their lease. I suggest that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney further about this matter.

 


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