Can I dispute a rent-up feeifa property company found me a tenant butit didn’t yet have a signed lease with them when I terminated our contract?

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Can I dispute a rent-up feeifa property company found me a tenant butit didn’t yet have a signed lease with them when I terminated our contract?

I retained the services of a property manager to rent my condo. After 2 months I informed them that I needed to cancel their service. I was then told that they had found an approved renter who had sent them a deposit ($1775) in good faith, but had not signed the lease. I received an email that a $500 cancellation fee was due; which is in the agreement I signed so I am in agreement with the fee. However they also said a rent up fee of $1775 was due because they had fulfilled their obligation to find an approved renter. My agreement mentions no rent-up fee. Do I owe this additional money?

Asked on May 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, absolutely not. The four corners of the contract offered and accepted (with each party giving consideration) are what creates the meeting of the minds (bargained for exchange) and the legally enforceable contract. As to the rent-up fee, if it is not in the original agreement, it is not enforceable.  Further, the company did not fulfill its contract because it did not provide a signed lease or renter. It only provided the possibility of a renter. Re-check your agreement about the actual obligation of the property manager and go from there. You should also keep the cancellation fee because it didn't fulfill its obligation so really no service, no cancellation fee.


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