Rental Basics in Sacramento>Question Details

Anna, Other/Just Looking in Sacramento, CA

Can someone break a rental agreement before the move-in date if the paperwork has already been signed?

Asked by Anna, Sacramento, CA Sat Mar 14, 2009

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Anna. The answer is yes, anybody can break an agreement. The question is what are you willing to do about it. In other words, is it worth fighting over? An attorney is the only person who can tell you what your rights and remedies are considering the facts of the case.

Good luck.

Ute Ferdig
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 14, 2009
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
Bluejade, yours is a different question interpreting a written legal contract. I'd suggest you go to your county courthouse and see if they have any free legal services to interpret it for you, or contact an attorney directly.

However, from a logical standpoint, it sounds like this landlord is going to be uncooperative all the way through. You might want to cut your losses and not have to deal with him for a whole year....something to think about what you want at the conclusion of investigating your rights here.

Good luck.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 6, 2009
We just recently signed a 1 year lease agreement but then the owner cancelled it because he thinks we are asking for too much. (the only thing we asked is a grace period to move in out things). What should we do? it's a lot of time loss for us because we stop looking for other properties to rent and we have to evacuate the place in 3 weeks?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 5, 2009
California tenancy laws are different than other states so make sure you are referring to any contract directly written in California. Second, make sure that you are speaking about a month to month rental agreement contract than a lease, and then third, read the wording in the contract that you signed. I'm sure it's all there.

You can most likely get this answered very quickly by an attorney, or go down to the county courthouse. They have free legal services for tenants there. I'm not sure of the hours that someone is there, but you might be able to get it answered there.

Personally, I think that you may be liable for the deposit but since I'm not reading the contract, I'm not a reliable source for an answer. I'm also not answering as a realtor as we do not have the legal background to give you that kind of advice. Only attorneys can interpret the legal contract on your behalf, and the final decision may be that of a small claims court judge.

One way or the other, I would contact the landlord as quickly as possible to minimize the damages. Let him find another tenant as soon as possible, if you don't plan on moving in.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 16, 2009
Reverse it and then it will be clearer. What if the other party broke the contract, then you would have damages. The amount of damages to the damaged party is always unclear and needs to be proven. Either in court or between the parties out of court. Now most rental contract spell this out and you should have given a deposit. If I was the landlord and you had good cause I might keep all or half your deposit. What this landlord will do is up to them. Be diplomatic and you may suprised.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 15, 2009
It is called "breach of contract". Can a contract be breached without consequences to the party violating the contract.? Questions such as these fill up the civil courts, and keep mediators and arbitrators busy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 14, 2009
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
If you have an executed agreement between 2 parties (property owner / tenant) there should be a clause regarding performance of both parties.

Confer with listing agent or attorney.

Depends on how the contract was authored you might be able sue DISCLAIMER: without review of paperwork difficult to make any full statements.

Read your contract. If you can sue forward a demand letter for payment per lease agreement you might be able to retain the deposit and 1st months rent or even more !

An amendment would need be signed by both parties attach to executed agreement

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 14, 2009
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