When does a sublease become legally binding?

UPDATED: Jul 13, 2010

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When does a sublease become legally binding?

When the tenant signs it, both parties sign, or when tenant receives a signed copy?Subtenant backed out or a lease after signing the contract and paying rent. They cancelled the check because they did not receive a signed copy on the day they wanted to cancel the lease, although it was already signed by both parties.

Asked on July 13, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract as between two parties.  In your case, you have taken the position of being the landlord to the sub-tenant.  First, please make sure that your lease with the owner/landlord allows you to sublet the premises.  If it does not then your sublease is not going to be honored and would most likely be void.

Generally, a contract is valid when it is signed by "the party to be charged."  If they signed it then it is a valid contract.  Check local ordinances regarding obligations of landlords to give copies of leases and if there is an impact on your situation here that would allow cancellation.  Massachusetts has odd property laws.  Otherwise, you have many issues to discuss with an attorney: breach of the lease and passing a bad check.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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