If you pay a months rent but don’t sign a lease and don’t move in, does the landlord have to give your money back?

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If you pay a months rent but don’t sign a lease and don’t move in, does the landlord have to give your money back?

Asked on May 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Even if you do not sign a lease, you should of at least signed some form of a renters agreement which stated what land and rights you would possess in exchange for your payment of rent on a monthly basis. Without some form of a written agreement of this nature, then no contract exists giving you rights as a renter/tenant and the other person or company rights as a landlord. This would mean that the landlord is not "legally" obligated to return anything because you were not "legally" obligated to pay. However, if you did sign such an agreement, but simply refused or failed to move in, then that landlord is legally entitled to that month's rent based upon the terms and condition of the rental agreement. These type of agreements are legally called "month to month" contracts based on a 30 day period. So if within the next 30 days you decide not to move in, then the contract will be voided and you will not be legally obligated to pay, but you must give the landlord 30 day notice of your intent to move out and cancel the contract. 


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