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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  Real Estate Attorney
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I have just presigned a 12 month apt. lease in Phoenix, AZ

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I have just presigned a 12 month apt. lease in Phoenix, AZ on 7-26-13. The lease is due to begin on 7-31-13. I have not aken possession of keys or the apartment. Within 24 hrs of signing the lease. I realized that I want to live in another apartment community for safety reasons. The rental agent told me that I cannot cancel the lease now that it is signed without incurring full penalties. I disagree as I changed my mind within 24 hrs. and the lease has not yet started. AM I correct in my opinion that I have 24 hrs to cancel, or is the leasing agent correct?

Please advise.

TMcJD :

Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.

TMcJD :

I'm terribly sorry to hear of your situation. I know this is very stressful and frustrating. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately there is no cancellation/rescission period for a lease. Some transactions, such as taking out a home equity loan or a door-to-door sales transaction do carry a 3-day rescission period (sometimes known as a cooling off period). Leases, however, don't have a cancellation period. The leasing agent is correct in that there is now a legally binding contract. If you walk away, the landlord has a duty to try and re-lease the property as quickly as possible. Once that is done, then you would be liable for the amount of time between the lease beginning date and when the lease with a new tenant begins. Or you could pay a penalty of a certain amount if the lease provisions contain terms for early termination and penalty assessment.

Customer:

Wow!

Customer:

I thought that we would have some time period for the "cool down" as with a car purchase

Customer:

I guess Im learning a difficult lesson here.

TMcJD :

Unfortunately, no. It really should be different but the law just hasn't kept up with the times.

Customer:

I suppose I can ask the property management company tomorrow, but I will have to live with their final decision

Customer:

thanks for your assistance

Customer:

I appreciate the expert opinion

TMcJD :

Yes, certainly you should talk to them and see if something can be worked out - that's the best thing you can do. And do also keep in mind that you are only liable for the amount of time between your lease beginning date and when the property is rented to someone else. Also, they have a duty to re-lease the property as quickly as possible. They can't hold you liable for the whole lease term.

TMcJD :

You're welcome. Thank you for your question. Have a great day!

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