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Ask Irwin Law Your Own Question
Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7344
Experience:  Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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I was presented a lease by my Agent (and the "landlord's"

Customer Question

I was presented a lease by my Agent (and the "landlord's" Listing Agent) to sign. I researched landlord, all looked good. I signed. I moved in.
2 weeks later a man broke in and announced himself as owner, said HE would be my landlord and I should only go through him. Since then he's been harassing me.
I know I have many rights to break lease under constructive eviction - major code violations and harassment - but is my lease even VALID?
I've drafted an early lease termination letter and was very careful citing laws and codes, but I'm afraid of provoking a scary and proven litigious man - even though he's not the party on the lease. If my lease isn't valid I may not need to send that letter. But then what do I send?
If my lease isn't valid is this a "theft by fraud" issue? I would have NEVER signed the lease had I known the true owner's name, red flags all over Google! And my Agency knew of discrepancy between info on lease and tax record. My losses are $10K!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.
Consulted briefly with attorney who has advised stated this is not a valid lease, that I am technically "a squatter" and that I should file theft by fraud charges against the man who signed the lease - He also said my Agency exercised extreme negligence in this transaction.
In my opinion the foregoing is an accurate assessment of your situation. A person in your position should first ascertain the truth of the subsequent owner's claim of ownership. A meeting with him and/or his attorney should be arranged asap,and that should cool him off. If he can show you proof that he and not the first guy is the true owner, then you should agree to either sign a new lease with him, or move out at an agreed time. You may have a case against the first "landlord" and the Realtors, but those can be problematic to win and collect on. Most people in your situation are satisfied simply to "get out of Dodge" and move on with life.
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