A couple of weeks ago I applied for an apartment, was approved, and paid a security deposit. Just yesterday I found a place that was much more affordable and closer to my place of work that I wanted instead. I am willing to forfeit the security deposit at the first location. Am I obligated to paying additional money to the first place if I never signed a lease?
Estate Planning Attorney
The answer to your question really depends on the conditions under which you gave the deposit to the landlord. If the deposit was necessary to hold the appartment, then it is possible that you would have to forfeit it. However, that doesn't mean that you have entered into a lease. I can imagine at least a couple of different scenarios. The first is that you have formed an oral lease to rent the appartment for a period of time. The second is that you gave the deposit as a condition for holding the appartment open, but that you contemplated getting together and signing the lease later. If the second is true, it could be said that you "agreed to agree", and that there is not a binding contract until you signed the lease. What the court will really be looking for is to see whether you agreed to all of the essential terms of the contract. If so, you may be bound. If not, you can walk away without paying any further rent.
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