Can a landlord keep your if you haven’t moved in yet?

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Can a landlord keep your if you haven’t moved in yet?

I recently signed a lease for a house that I was about to move into due to a job transfer. However, before taking possession I was terminated from my job.

Asked on June 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Once you sign a lease, you are obligated to it. The fact that  you did not move in yet does not matter. It also does not matter if you have a good reason for breaking your lease, such as loss of a job--again, all that matters is the legal obligation you incurred upon signing the lease. The landlord would certainly be able to keep your security deposit as compensation for rent you are obligated to pay but do not; theoretically, the landlord is entitled to the rent you would have to pay for the entirety of the lease--or least until he/she finds someone else to rent, if that happens before your lease would have expired--and if the security deposit does not cover the full amount you'd owe, could sue you for the balance.


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