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Am I financially bound to pay more than a deposit if I did not sign a lease?

Rochester, MN |

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?

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Attorney answers 1


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.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Minnesota. Responses are based solely on Minnesota law unless stated otherwise.

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