Is a lease agreement void if the owner did not sign it?

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Is a lease agreement void if the owner did not sign it?

About 4 months we leased a condo. We told the property manager that we wanted a long term tenancy since our kids would be in the nearby schools. The property manager signed but then told me they no longer represent owner. We are not settled in yet and we have begun to receive notices of default being posted on door. We want outof the lease so we can find a more permanent living situation. Is the lease void if owner did not sign? I have her email address and bank deposit info but no where on the lease does it have anyone’s contact information or physical address. We don’t want to settle to this pre-forclosed condo.

Asked on September 23, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is not so much the signature of the owner as whether *at the time* the lease was signed, the property manager represented the owner. If the property manager represented them when the lease was executed, the lease would be valid, since it was executed by an agent of the landlord with the authority to sign leases; whether or not the agent subsequently lost authority would not matter.

On the other hand, if the property manager did not represent the landlord at the time the lease was exectuted, then it would not be valid--a person may not lease property which either (s)he does not own or for which she is not an agent with authority granted by the owner; the person simply does not have the legal authority to lease if not an owner and the agent of the owner. So the timing of lease execution vs. the agent no longer representing the landlord would seem to be the critical issue.


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