What to do if our son is a college student who supposedly came to an agreement with the landlord but now has no place to stay?

UPDATED: Aug 20, 2011

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What to do if our son is a college student who supposedly came to an agreement with the landlord but now has no place to stay?

My son came to an agreement on an apartment with a landlord. He told him the house was his; he would send him the keys. We got the lease and had a question but he didn’t return calls. He is now saying the house in not available because of building inspection issues. Can he advertise a house he can’t legally rent? It is a week before school and my son has no housing. We have told him we could find temporary housing but he has not responded. Do we have any recourse?

Asked on August 20, 2011 District of Columbia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry.  The agreement that your son came to with the landlord was a verbal agreement, correct?  And you never executed the written contract, correct?  Then you may be out of luck in trying to sue the landlord for what is called "specific performance" under a contract.  He would have had to sign it in order to hold him to it.  Now, if the apartment is illegal or uninhabitable under the law then even if the contract (the lease) were executed it wold be void.  I think that you would be wasting your time to sue him at this point and that your resources are best served finding your son suitable housing.  Good luck.

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