Do we have grounds to move out if our landlord lost our lease?

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Do we have grounds to move out if our landlord lost our lease?

My sister and I have been living in an apartment for 6 months. We had recently requested a copy of our lease sent to us via email due to the misplacement of our own copy. The response we got was that our lease was “not on file”. They do not know the cause of our missing lease and would get back to us with details. We contacted them on Wednesday but we still have not heard back from them. We have tried calling them and sent an email with no response.

Asked on December 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A missing lease does not provide grounds to move out of rental unit before the end of the lease term. You could try arguing that there never was an executed (signed) written lease, so you were always month-to-month tenants on an oral lease, which would let you move out after a month's notice; however, be aware that if the landlord finds a copy of the lease, or even can convince a judge that a lease existed and was signed by all parties, even if the copies thereof have been misplaced, you could find yourself  liable for rent for the remaining term or length of the lease.


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