What to do if a rental office leased an apartment that I already gave them money to hold?

UPDATED: May 21, 2012

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What to do if a rental office leased an apartment that I already gave them money to hold?

Was trying to transfer from a 2-bedroom to a 3-bedroom. I signed an intent to move letter. The leasing agent then told me to come in on the 20th because that’s when the apartment would be ready. However, when I got there I was told that the apartment was leased out the day before. Now I only have a week and a half to find a new place to live. What can I do about this? I didn’t plan for a big move just was going to transfer from one building to the next. What are my rights and options?

Asked on May 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there was an agreement that they would hold the apartment for you--which there evidently was: they offered to rent it to you, you accepted that offer, and you provided consideration (or something of value) in the form of money to hold the apartment,, and when there is offer, acceptance, and consideration, there is an enforceable contract--and they breached that agreement, they may be liable to you for all your costs that flow from that breach. For example, if due to the fact that they did not hold the apartment for you, you have to rent another place at a higher cost, pay for a motel or storage of your goods, pay higher moving costs than if you were moving from one building to the next, etc., you could potentially recover those costs from the landlord or managing agent.

You have rights; you should consult with an attorney about how best to vindicate them. Consult with a lawyer right away--the lawyer, simply by writing to or otherwise contacting them, may be able to motivate them to find another unit for you before you time is up, as an alternative to potentially facing liability.

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