Can you move out without penalty if you don’t have a written lease?

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Can you move out without penalty if you don’t have a written lease?

My son is in college and he moved into a rental at the beginning of the semester. However he is having problems with the landlord. He has paid his first semester but her would not like to stay the second semester. There is no lease; the landlord never got around to bringing it over. Can he move out before next semester starts with no problems?

Asked on November 15, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your son needs to provide a a month's (30 days) notice to the landlord that he will ending his tenancy and moving out. When there is no written lease, the rental is held to be pursuant to an oral or verbal lease; oral or verbal leases create a month-to-month tenancy, which means that either party, landlord or tenant, can terminate it with a month's notice. If you son fails to give adequate notice, he can be held responsible for an additional month's rent; or if he gives notice but doesn't get out on time, that will invalidate the notice, obligate him for the month, and require appropriate notice for the next month. Given the timing, depending on exactly when the semesters end and start at his school, this is probably the time to starting thinking about notice.


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