If there are 2 names on a lease and the landlord increased the rent after 1 of the tenants signed, is thelease binding if the other tenant refused to sign?

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If there are 2 names on a lease and the landlord increased the rent after 1 of the tenants signed, is thelease binding if the other tenant refused to sign?

We (2 unmarried people, both names on the lease) have had an apartment for the past year, and we have payed a $30 pet fee, added to our total rent each month. We went to renew our lease, and were promised a total rent amount, and the landlord and 1 lessee signed the lease. The landlord then mentioned that she “forgot” the pet fee, and needed to add $30 more. The second lessee refused to sign at this point. The landlord insists the lease is binding, at the increased rent amount. On the lease, the original amount is crossed out, and a new amount written beside it (no initials).

Asked on August 3, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written, it appears at one point in time there was a lease for a certain period of time (one year or more) that expired under its own terms. The expired lease was attempted to be renewed with a new written document where one named person signed the lease but the other named person did not sign the document due to differences that arose consisting of a rent increase.

If the landlord has not signed the new lease, there is no valid written contract with the landlord and the two tenants as to it. If the landlord and one tenant are the only ones who signed the new lease, the new lease only applies to the tenant who signed it. It is not binding upon the other tenant who did not sign the new document.

Good question.


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