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What are the legal recourse available to a landlord if a tenant backs of a lease prior to moving in?

Boston, MA |

I signed lease agreement papers with someone who backed out of the agreement prior to our moving in. I sent in the initial deposit before I was told that my to-be roommate backed out. How can I go about getting my deposit back?

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Attorney answers 2


Did you pay the whole deposit or just your half, and did that person pay his or her deposit as well? Usually upon signing a lease and making the deposit, you are obligated under the terms of the lease for the term of the lease. If one tenant does not pay the rent or backs out, then the other is usually on the hook for the entire rent, unless you have separate agreements with the landlord. Sometimes, a creative solution can work. Maybe you can contact the landlord and see if he or she will let you out of the lease, especially if you can't afford it, or perhaps you can negotiate a reduced rent for yourself to stay there, if that is feasible. Another option you may have is to pay to the rent until the landlord finds someone else, and then get your deposit back. Definitely check with an attorney who has handled these matters. Best of luck!

Anjali Gupta Stevenson
(857) 284-9844

This information is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney-client privilege or relationship between Anjali Gupta Stevenson Law Office, LLC and the reader. This information is for general purposes.


I am sorry you are faced with this issue. Your best recourse at this time is to speak with a landlord-tenant attorney and have them review your will.

I wish you all the best.

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