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Landlord Fraud Questions

Is a lease agreement legal if it is signed by someone not on the lease?

A lease is only binding between the parties that have signed the lease. If however, a lease has been signed by a person using someone else’s name, then this could be considered a form of fraud. If the landlord knows that the person signing is not the person that is on the lease document, then this would be grounds for a lawsuit over a type of real estate fraud. Also, if the lease was signed under false pretenses, then this could also void the lease based on landlord fraud.

If a tenant omits the truth and lies for a landlord who is committing mortgage fraud, can the tenant also be punished for mortgage fraud?

Mortgage fraud can carry a wide variety of penalties and punishments that can include jail time, probation, fines and fees, restitution, as well as forfeiture of property. Many of these penalties and punishments will depend on the value of the mortgage. Whether or not the tenant can be prosecuted as an accomplice of the landlord will depend on the severity of the tenant’s actions.

What would be the consequences if a landlord cashed a check that was not signed by the tenant, knowing that the check was no good, and locked a tenant out before they could get their belongings?

If you can prove the signature on the check was not yours, and that you didn’t present the check for payment, the landlord or whoever signed the check would be at fault and guilty of forgery. If this was to go to trial, a handwriting expert may be called in to assess the signature on the check and establish whether there was forgery involved or not. If you are faced with similar problems of landlord fraud, you could ask lawyers on JustAnswer for their expert opinion on your situation, and determine whether or not you need to retain legal counsel.

If a landlord asks that the utilities be kept in their name for three months while they do a loan modification, is this considered mortgage fraud?

Many landlords keep utilities in their name, especially if they are trying to get a second mortgage or trying to qualify for a loan modification. In most cases, this is not considered a type of mortgage fraud. If for some reason the loan company discovered the discrepancy, the worse that could happen is a denial of the mortgage or the loan modification.

If a Michigan tenant was giving a handwritten notice “to quit termination of tenancy” for failure to sign lease, failure to pay utilities and rent, and was given less than a 30 day notice, is this legal or considered landlord fraud?

In Michigan the landlord can issue notice of 7 days for unpaid rent. Otherwise if you are current with rent, then notice to vacate would be the same for the time period you pay rent. So if you are obligated to pay rent every 30 days, then the landlord is obligated to give you at least 30 days’ notice to terminate the tenancy for anything other than unpaid rent. Seven days’ notice can also be given for a violation of the lease terms (damaging the property is an example), however a 7 day notice can usually not be given for not signing the lease. If there is no signed lease you are considered a month-to-month tenant. You can however, let the landlord know your rights of counter-suing under a claim of retaliation and not following the proper notice requirements, since you have paid the rent on time.

Things aren’t always black and white in cases of landlord fraud. There could be technicalities and nuances involved that can complicate matters. Your legal standing may not always be obvious or clear and this can lead to questions. Lawyers on JustAnswer have answered a number of questions about landlord fraud. When you ask a question giving the details of your case, you are assured a quick answer that addresses your issues in particular. This can help you understand your legal standing and even point you in the right direction.
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