Atwater, CA asked in Contracts for California

Q: Is a lease legal if amended, agreed to by all, initialed by one lessor and signed by all but lessor didn't keep a copy?

I have a lease that was amended, agreed upon by all and signed by the lessors. The lessors refused to take and revise lease but instead, gave the lessee the amended lease stating they didn't need a copy. I wouldn't sign it until the amendments were initialed but only one lessor was available at the time. She initialed, I initialed and I signed the lease. They wouldn't keep a copy and never ask for one but Breached the lease stating it's not legal or enforceable because they don't have a copy. I've had to take them to small claims court and judge ruled in my favor on both my claim and their counterclaim. They are appealing it in trial De Novo and have created a new lease, changed the wording and presented it as the original lease,( in their trial brief) stating I never signed it. My question is, is my lease legal even if they didn't keep a copy, one lessor initialed the amendments but everything was agreed upon by all BEFORE anyone signed it and I wouldn't sign before it was initialed?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It sounds like the lessor waived their rights to keep a copy and this is what the Judge found in small claims. The new, unsigned lease is not binding on you, and they could be trying to perpetrate a fraud on the Court by claiming they had that as a lease with you when you produce the one with their signatures on it. If your copy has the initials of one of the lessors on the amendments, this should be binding on the other one, under the law of agency. You can get an additional $250 for attorney's fees in a trial de novo for SC.

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