We signed a lease agreement for a new building-mov-in date 5/10. Leasing agent said it would be ready 1st of May. We gave our notice to be out 5/15 as the leasing agent gave us no indication the apt would not be ready. Then the owner called me (leasing agent no longer there) and said they didn't have cert of occupancy yet (first week of May) and we couldn't move in the 10th but maybe 19th - he'd know closer to that date. Now he is saying middle of June. I do not want out of the lease but want to know what our rights are for this dragging on and if our landlord rents the apt, we're stuck.
Review the lease very carefully, as there should be a provision to cover what happens if the landlord cannot deliver the premises to you as promised. Most standard forms of lease contain language that minimizes or even attempts to eliminate the landlord's obligation to deliver premises in a timely manner. However, under the law, many statutory protections provided to residential tenants cannot be waived by a lease provision. If you cannot find any lease language that appears to apply to this situation, then the Civil Code default provisions would control. Either way, you should seriously consider contacting a local tenant rights organization or lawyer to have the lease reviewed.
Please note that, while I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer. This information is for general educational and informational purposes only, and is not legal advice. You should review your particular situation with a qualified lawyer of your choosing.
Absent language in the lease to the contrary, you do not have the obligation to pay rent until possession is obtained. Please, read your lease carefully.
Further, there maybe language in the lease that allows either party to terminate the lease if possession is not delivered.
If the landlord is collecting rent you must reach an agreement as to how that rent will be applied to future rent obligations.
You say you do not want to lose the lease but want to know your rights. Read the lease since the lease will control most of the rights you have for non-delivery.
Mr. Freitas is an attorney licensed in the State of California. The answer provided here is general information and not intended to be specific legal advice. There is not attorney client relationship created by Mr. Freitas' answering any question on this website.
I agree with Attorney Freitas. Unless the lease agreement you signed has language to the contrary, you don't have any obligation to pay rent until you obtain possession.
Some leases also have a provision which allows you to terminate the lease if possession cannot be delivered by a certain date. (However, this doesn't seem to be one of your desired options).
You should give written notification to the landlord (through the leasing agent) that you still desire to rent the apartment.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
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