That can be a very powerful tactic as long as you plan on following through if need be.
We have done this several times with great success however this was done to collect commissions which people tried to avoid paying by going directly to the landlord and doing a side deal but those are other stories, got a ton of them!
Broker of Record
Marivic GMAC Real Estate
2056A Lincoln Hwy. (Rt.27)
Edison, NJ 08817-3330
Office: 732-650-9911 Ext.302
Toll Free: 1-866-745-GMAC(4622) Ext.302
(MIDDLESEX MLS SEARCH) http://search.victor.msx.mlxchange.com/
(GSMLS SEARCH) http://www.gsmls.com/
(Monmouth/Ocean MLS) http://monmouthoceanmls.com/victor
Instead, see if they will possibly offer a 2 week to one month leaseback. (Assuming they have the time to stay where they are at). If not a possible option, look fast, or look into a possible short term lease till you find what you really want.
Basically, handshakes and verbal agreements are not binding and will not hold up in a court of law. Take it as a lesson learned and get everything in writing in the future.
As far as your having no where to go, try delaying the closing on your home or ask about getting a lease back from the buyers until you are able to find something.
And suppose, just suppose, you sue and you win. You've now cost yourself and your landlord thousands of dollars in legal fees. You've probably prevented him from renting the property to someone else for the 3-6 months or more (maybe much more) that the legal process would take. And now the landlord has you--someone who's sued him--as a tenant. That would be an untenable situation.
As the others suggest, move on and quickly try to find another place to live.
It seems you will be better served spending your present time finding a rental to move to. You can always consult an attorney after you are settled in your new place and they can advise you of your options, but your priority should be to find a place to live.
Using a qualified Realtor that knows you have to find a place ASAP will be a big help to you. If you are looking in Bergen County, please contact me through my website and I would be happy to work with you.
Only an attorney can provide legal advice, and I am not an attorney. But, in my opinion, I would expect that absent a fully executed lease, your chances of prevailing in a lawsuit may be slim. If I were you, I would focus my energies on finding a replacement rental. Check w/ an attorney for legal advice before making your final decisions.
Good luck, there are rentals about but their prices are climbing and availability for 2 weeks from now may push everyone but it can be done.
To solve your housing dilemna, get yourself a good agent that understands the urgency of your needs.
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com