Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

Is a signed lease binding is no money has been exchanged yet?

I just signed a one yr. lease yesterday, but haven't given him any money yet.

Now another house I like a lot better has been offered to me and I'd like to

take that one instead. Can I cancel the first agreement without penalty? It

did stipulate that my vacating the premise early would allow the landlord to

keep the security deposit, but he doesn't have any money yet. Is there a

graceful way out of this signed lease?



Asked on 3/27/05, 3:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Philip Iadevaia Law Offices of Philip A. Iadevaia

Re: Is a signed lease binding is no money has been exchanged yet?

You signed the lease and therefore entered into a contract. That you didn't pay any money yet is no way out, yet you are holding the most important part of the lease, the consideration. You have to ask the landlord to rescind the lease agreement, and if he doesn't, you may be liable for damages. Instead of suing you, the landlord may just try find another tenant, but you may be liable for rent until he does. Bear in mind the landlord has to use his best efforts to get another tenant. Really, the only graceful way is to try to renegotiate the lease you have or tell the landlord that you're sorry but you found a place you like better. Call me if there are any problems. (310) 806-9237. Good luck, --Phil

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Answered on 3/28/05, 10:48 am

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