Question

Am I legally bound to a lease when my application has not been approved?

My boyfriend and I applied to an apartment complex on Saturday morning. At the time of application the leasing agent had us sign the lease and all addendums, but it was our understanding that the lease was contingent upon our application being approved. I wrote a check for the deposit as well as the administrative and application fees.

We have since found a much cheaper option and have decided that we should wait and shop around. I called the apartment complex and asked them to destroy our application and check as we did not feel financially able to commit.

They called us back today and said that we are legally bound to our lease and will be held liable for all re-letting fees and rent. They had not yet deposited our check, we have not returned the guarantor applications, we have not submitted income verification, and we have to our knowledge received application approval. I called my bank and made a stop payment order on the check I had written them to prevent them from depositing it and saying the deposit was paid.

Can we legally be held liable?
I believe we did sign the lease, honestly they were throwing so much paperwork at us at once that it's hard to remember. We misunderstood what was said to us and believed that even if we were signing the lease it was not yet binding because we still had to bring in more paperwork to finish the application process.

3 years ago - 5 answers

Best Answer

Chosen by Asker

Yes, you are legally responsible because you signed the lease and addendums. YOU backed out of the agreement; they did not reject you because you did not qualify.

Source(s):

3 years ago

Other Answers

That's weird. You should not have signed with lease without recieving keys. Are you sure it's not an application agreement that you signed? It's tough as leases are legally binding contracts, but seeing as you have not recieved possesion of the property I don't understand how they could hold you liable.

by B - 3 years ago

It depends. Basically, what I am getting from your above description is that the application was not yet approved and it was basically just that, an application. If the application had not yet been approved, then there was no mutual agreement (you said yes, they said yes) which is required to have based on contract law (because a lease is essentially a contract).
However, you gave them a deposit and signed something... did you fully read the content upon which you signed? If it was just an application then you have yet to sign a lease. If they never called you back with the "your application was approved, congratulations!" nonsense then you are legally allowed to back out of the deal prior to their acceptance because there is technically no deal as of this point.
Also, since you put a stop check on the deposit then you would legally be required to provide the deposit in order to "hold" the rental property, so if you deny a deposit and you have yet to sign a lease then you should be free to go.

EDIT
I just now noticed that you stated that you actually signed the lease. If you did actually sign the lease then your application should have been approved. You probably will be held liable unless you can reach some other mutual agreement (maybe you finding someone else to take over the lease, etc.)

by HR - 3 years ago

in law, there is an application and a legal criteria called a "meeting of the minds"-
she said, he said, we thought.

Often, if the LL has signed a lease, and you have signed a lease, you have a meeting
and are obligated. I see on your posting that you are ONLY talking about an application.
NOT a lease.

Without a landlord's signature and your signature on a LEASE, you have no obligation
for anything. YOU are at the pre-lease stage and they want to obligate you. NO CAN DO.

You are likely to have to walk away from the app fee and such but nothing else.

YOU can ask your bank to do a stop payment on the check.

the LANDLORD wants to enjoy fees. I tell my clients never pay app fees and such.

You are, again, not at any obligation stage. WALK away.

let them try to sue you. YOU are not signed to any obligation UNLESS you did sign
a lease and you have the LL's signature.......[start date, end date or length of lease, etc]

LL's have staff to make tenant candidates feel obligated. Means nothing.

walk

Source(s)

by kemperk - 3 years ago

you should not have sighed a lease period until approved

by Crystal Motley - 3 years ago