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Can a landlord raise rent, after a verbal approval has been made, and leases were to be signed in a few days?

Brooklyn, NY |

I am currently going through rapid reality to rent an apartment. We found a studio for 1300, put a good faith deposit down, which we were told takes it off the market. We submitted paperwork, and were approved. A day later, our agent calls us and says the same apartment we were approved for was shown and the party offered $100 more a month. Now, the management company for the building is telling us we need to pay $1400 a month, or the other party will get the apartment. Is this a breach of a verbal agreement, since we were told we were approved?

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Attorney answers 3


You are in a classic bidding war. Until a contract (lease) is signed by both sides and delivered back to you with the keys it is not binding.

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Dear Prospective Tenant:

A verbal agreement to agree to a lease is not a promise that may be enforced in a New York court, but you do not have a verbal agreement if you have a written hold signed by you and by the real estate agent and you paid money for this.

You have to examine your written agreement and check for the promise made to you about holding the apartment at the stated rent, contingent only, on your passing your credit review.

If the broker broke a written agreement you have a right to file a complaint. But Small Claims Court cannot do anything for you other than recover your hold deposit and it is not likely that you will decide to bring on a lawsuit for specific performance.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.


Review the documents with an attorney.

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