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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.)


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