If I signed an electronic lease but backed out due to family emergency and I never saw the unit, am I bound by the lease since I can’t pay rent now?

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If I signed an electronic lease but backed out due to family emergency and I never saw the unit, am I bound by the lease since I can’t pay rent now?

Asked on December 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states in this country, in order to be bound to a written lease one's signature has to be actually applied to the document and an electronic signtaure does not suffice because one never really knows who the person was that placed the electronic signature.

In your situation, if you did not actually sign the lease with your own signature, I would take the position that there is no valid signed agreement in your own hand. I would write the person who owns the unit that you had intended to rent from advising him or her that since you did not sign the written lease that you will not move into the unit. Keep a copy of the letter for future need. You might want to consult with a landlord tenant further about your situation.


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