If a lease is only signed by 1 of 2 tenants, can it be broken?

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If a lease is only signed by 1 of 2 tenants, can it be broken?

The lease is under 2 names and signed by 1 about 24 hours ago. However, the other 1 doesn’t want to sign the lease. First month is paid already, however not the deposit. Is there any way we both can get out of the lease with the first month payment? If not, what are other actions that I can take to get my money back even half?

Asked on September 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since there is a written agreement signed by one (1) of the (2) potential tenants, you need to carefully read the documents terms in that it controls the obligations owed by the landlord to at least one (1) of the people who signed it and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the lease calls for both potential tenants to have signed it to be binding, then the lease is not binding until the second tenant signs it as well as the landlord. If not and the landlord and one of the tenants have signed it, then the lease is binding upon those that have signed the document.

If the other person who was to live in the unit has changed his or her mind and does not want to enter into the lease by signing it, perhaps a talk with the landlord is in order and he or she might agree to cancel the lease in writing because of this.

It is worth a try.


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