Is a verbal lease renewal made by only one tenant binding?

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Is a verbal lease renewal made by only one tenant binding?

My son and his girlfriend signed a 6 month lease. Then 1 month before it expired, my son’s girlfriend made the comment that they “plan on staying” while my son was not around. Neither of them has signed a lease but now they have another place to live and the landlord is demanding to be paid for another month. Are either of them legally bound to pay? The original 6 months will be up in 5 days.

Asked on September 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The girlfriend can obligate herself through an oral or verbal agreement, but cannot obligate your son--no person can be bound to any contract or agreement, including an oral one or a brief lease extension, unless he specifically agrees to it. So your son can avoid having to pay rent, but that would potentially leave the girlfriend liable or obligated for the full amount.


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