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Is a commercial rental lease valid if it has never been signed?

Escanaba, MI |

The property was being rented and a contract was drawn up, but never signed. The agreed amount had been paid on the rent for approx 8 years The tenant wanted out 2 years before the unsigned lease was up, due to medical issues. Is the tenant obligated to pay the remainder of the unsigned contract

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    In Michigan, contracts for sale of real estate and for leases longer than a year must be in writing, or are not enforceable. There are some ways around this regarding the term which has been performed, changes of position in reliance, etc., but in general, with the facts you have provided (i.e., it has already been more than a year, and nothing exceptional which would seem to warrant some form of limited equitable exception), it would seem the tenant is not obligated for remaining rent after moving out. Like another responding attorney indicated, the tenant may be responsible for rent as long as it stays, and if paying rent on a monthly basis, for giving 30 days notice of moving, but aside from liability for causing any physical damage beyond normal wear and tear, there should be no further rent liability. If a security deposit has been paid, there may even be recourse for the tenant to get that back.


  2. An unsigned contract is not a contract. It is possible that the actions of the parties May evidence a contract. Most likely a judge would find that you have a month to month tenancy.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


  3. I agree with my colleague, absent some other conduct, an unsigned contract is not generally binding. I also agree that what you most likely have is a month-to-month. For advice specific to your circumstances, sit with an attorney for an hour or two and get his or her opinion. Good luck.

    Answer given for general advice and is not a legal opinion, which would require an analysis of the facts and circumstances as well as the applicable law and regulations.

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