What to do if my lease is supposed to have started yet I don’t have access to the home?

UPDATED: Sep 2, 2011

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What to do if my lease is supposed to have started yet I don’t have access to the home?

I recently signed a lease agreement with a guy who was moved to England for work. We have communicated mostly through e-mail and every now and then a phone call from him. I have paid the security deposit, as well as first months rent. As soon as I paid the first months rent I received an e-mail asking for a second months rent as well because they were behind on money. When I stated that I could not afford to send another months rent they stopped responding to me. My lease was supposed to start the first of this month but I have yet to have any information from them or the keys. What can I do?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can sue. From what you write, it appears that you complied with your obligations under the lease (which is a contract, after all), but the landlord did not. When a party does not honor its obliations under a lease or contract, the other party can bring a legal action seeking someo or all of--

Return of anything paid (the security deposit and first month's rent)

"Specific performance"--or that the other party give you what you are entitled to (e.g. to force them  to rent to you)

Other monetary damages (e.g. if you have to rent elsewhere and its more expensive, the difference in rent; the cost to store belongings because you have no place to move them; etc.)

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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