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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33802
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I signed a lease and requested that there be two signed

Customer Question

I signed a lease and requested that there be two signed copies, one for me and one for the landlady. The realtor, who represented the landlady, gave the only copy signed by both of us to the landlady, who is keeping it. She gave me a photocopy and the realtor swears it is a legal, binding document. That is not how it was when I did my own real estate leases on my own property back in the '80s. Has the law changed? Do I have a legal document? This was just paper, not Docusign.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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So do you have a photocopy of the lease signed by both parties?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I do.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I do not have original signatures, though, just photocopies.
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Ok, it is not necessary for everyone to have a "wet" copy (i.e. original ink) in order for it to be legally binding. If you signed and the landlord signed then the lease is entirely legally binding on both parties, even if both of you only have a photocopy. As long as there aren't changes or conflicting terms in your copy and the landlord's copy then both are completely valid. With technology where it is today, the courts don't require original ink signatures on contracts any more..

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks. What if she destroys her copy and says we both agreed to that? I have nothing then, right?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I have not done this before, do need to switch to a live call to ask follow up questions?
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Sorry for the delay, busy online tonight with lots of customers..

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What if she destroys her copy and says we both agreed to that? I have nothing then, right?

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That doesn't mean anything legally. You have a binding copy.. A lease is not like a will where it is mandatory to have an original signed ink document. A lease is binding whether it is a copy or an original as long as it is signed by both parties.

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Now if she destroyed your copy and hers, then she can argue that you are just a month to month tenant...

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thanks

Barrister

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