Is a lease valid if signed before the landlord was the legal owner of the rental property?

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Is a lease valid if signed before the landlord was the legal owner of the rental property?

I signed a lease on 06/30 and the owner’s escrow closed on 07/08, therefore he did not own the home when I signed and gave him a security deposit. Is this legal? I lost my job and am no longer able to rent the home. I never moved in and the property manager is giving me no chance to get my security deposit back.

Asked on July 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Good question. If the person who signed the written lease with you for the home was not the owner at the time the lease was signed with you, but later became its owner, he did not have ownership rights at the time to contract with you. Accordingly the lease is voidable. Meaning, you or the now current landlord could declare that the lease is no longer going to continue at your option.

However, did the person you signed the lease with before he became legal owner have a power of attorney to sign the lease with you on behalf of then existing owner or was the person you signed the agreement with the authorized property manager for the prior owner? If either of these two scenarios were existing, then you might have a valid contract for the lease that is not voidable.

 


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