Is my lease voided if my apartment is not ready for me on the move-in date?

UPDATED: Oct 10, 2011

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Is my lease voided if my apartment is not ready for me on the move-in date?

I signed a lease about 4 months ago for an apartment beginning on the first of this month. I went tog et keys at the end of last month and I was informed that the apartment would not be ready for “at least 2 weeks” and that he would “call me in a week to let me know”. Almost every room needed repainting. It was marked by a noxious smell of cat and there were a number of other cosmetic and functional jobs that needed to happen. He had not yet received a quote or had a conversation with a contractor. I needed an apartment right away, so I went and found another apartment. Now he is refusing to refund my deposit.

Asked on October 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written lease agreement for the apartment that you were going to occupy, you need to carefully review it in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

You need to look carefully for any provision concerning time is of the essence to occupy the unit. If there is such a provision, you were entirely justified in refusing to take possession of the unit due to its poor condition.

If your landlord was unable to provide possession of the unit to you in an acceptable condition, you were within your rights to deem the landlord's failure to perform a breach of the agreement and rent another unit. The lease is voidable at your option which you exercised.

Your landlord owes you the return of your deposit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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