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KimberlyLaw, Attorney and Real Estate Broker
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 4195
Experience:  13 years of real estate experience including foreclosures, landlord tenant matters, residential sales and condo/coop matters.
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I Just signed a lease new apartment. However, I just found

Customer Question

Hello, I Just signed a lease for a new apartment. However, I just found out the unit owner has had another person on the lease since may that she has been trying to get off the lease. All while still accepting other applications from prospective tenants. For her to have me sign the lease and submit all my checks for deposit and 1st months rent, while failing to disclose the fact that she already has an active lease standing I'm assuming has to be illegal? She also knew and did not tell me that the condo mgmt would not allow me to move in without having the other person off of the lease. Is my lease agreement voided?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 4 months ago.

Hello, I am happy to assist you today.

Sorry to hear about this. I don't see this happen often.

So you are correct that it is not legal for the landlord to execute a lease with you. I am wondering whether the landlord signed your lease yet, or did you just submit it to her with the checks?

If she didn't sign it yet she probably technically is still ok legally, although there may be an element of fraud here in her presenting the apartment as available for rental, when, in fact, it is not.

You are correct that she can not lease this out while someone else is still on the lease. However, is it possible that the person has already vacated the apartment? Is that person gone, but just still technically owes money? That might be a different situation.

Let me know more details if you have them.


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for the response. I'm actually not sure if the person vacated the apartment and/or owes money. But how would that change my situation?
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 4 months ago.

Well, if the person left the apartment already, then you could actually take possession. Then it isn't as much of a fraudulent situation, except for the issue of the lease with the condo or coop association involved. I am guessing that they have to approve every tenant, and they won't allow a new tenant in as long as there is a valid lease for the former tenant.

If the tenant vacated, it sounds like more of a paperwork issue. You just have to figure out how to work it out between the landlord and the association to get them to release the former lease. That should really be the landlord's job, but I would ask for more details on this to figure out what's going on. As long as you can move in when you wanted to, there should be little impact on you, so hopefully that's possible.


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
this is a text from my fiance with more details about the situation. "No she needs to have the other tenant sign off on the lease termination agreement. That's why this is an issue. And he hasn't done so because i just found out that she is not willing to return his 1st months rent or other checks. She keeps changing and twisting her story. She knew good and well that the condo mgmt would not allow her to move in another tenant (us) while there is still an existing lease in place . She completely mislead me on the status of the unit and purposely withheld that information from me. Sounds like it falls within the definition of fraud to me. Also by requesting checks from me while knowing I wasn't going to be able to move in, doesn't that fall some where within fraud too?"
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 4 months ago.

Ok thanks for that additional information.

Like I said above, it is possible that this could qualify as fraud, but also possible not. If she thought that the lease termination was coming shortly, and if she didn't sign your lease yet and didn't cash the checks, then she probably wouldn't be charged with fraud. However, you can certainly file charges against her with the police if you are definitely not taking this apartment.

However, if you are interested in actually moving in, I think that filing a police report against her would not be a good idea. You still have the opportunity to move in if you want to, but you should also consider that if she is holding someone's deposit wrongfully, then you might not want this person as a landlord anyway. It could be a blessing in disguise that you learned of her character early on, before actually moving in.

At this point I would just evaluate whether you want to fight to get into this apartment still or not, and then take action from there. If you don't take it, you obviously are entitled to get back any money that you paid immediately. And she should be giving you at least a big apology.


Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 4 months ago.

Hello, I am still awaiting a response from you. This question is still open and I need to close it in order to get paid for my time with you.

Please ask me any follow up questions, or close out the question by providing positive feedback.

Thank you


Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 4 months ago.

Hi there. We had a great discussion about your situation. I see that your question is still open.

Can you please help me out by closing this question with positive feedback? If not, the system may keep your money, and I don't get paid for my work with you.

Thank you so much


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