San Diego, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: If I ask to withdraw from a lease prior to the approval and signature from the landlord, can I be released?

I signed a lease in March before the Pandemic officially hit USA, I asked to be released in April (due to financial instability from the pandemic lay offs) and they told me no. A month later I received confirmation that my lease had just been signed and executed, I also received my copy of the lease. They confirmed that they did not sign the lease until that specific moment. I have time stamps and every communication was over email. Am I able to get out of my lease?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You may very well be able to. The general rule is that an offer may be withdrawn before it is accepted. The devil is often in the details, so you would be well advised to have a consultation and document review with a qualified attorney, given the potential amounts in play.

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: At first blush your case seems simple but when you look at it from a first year law student point of view, it may not be that easy.

Your landlord may have turned down other applicants and as a consequence, Landlord might suffer an economic loss if he releases you from the lease.

But the question is, Was there a lease when you called him?

If there was no lease, then you are allowed to revoke the lease prior to acceptance by the landlord.

Your asking permission to be released from the future lease may or may not work to your advantage.

Your landlord accepted after you inquired about being released. Maybe he is a more knowledgeable businessman, thus it seems as you may have a lease.

Further inquiry may be necessary to determine your exact situation. Maybe you can negotiate with your landlord and let him keep one month rent and you walk away or you hire a lawyer to sue him for not returning your money. You may have to roll the dice on this because attorneys are expensive. Best of luck!!!!

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: This is a first semester Contracts law school question. A lease is a contract. To form a contract you must have an offer followed by an acceptance. The contract is formed when the offer is accepted (cause if it is rejected, there is no contract). Your sending the lease agreement was the offer. If you revoked the offer before it was accepted and communicated the revocation to the LL, there was no offer for the LL to accept when he did the acceptance after the revocation. Your facts are not clear as to what you actually communicated to the LL in April and what their response was.

You should take your evidence to an attorney for a review of the specifics. A lot depends on what you said in April, whether that was a notice of the withdrawal of the offer.

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