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Is there a NJ law giving a tenant 3 days to back out of a signed lease regardless of reason??
started a topic
almost 11 years ago
Tenant visited the property 3 times and was provided a copy of the lease on two occassions for review before signing. On Thursday, 24 May, her 4th visit, she gave us the deposit and signed the lease without hesitation to take posession on 01 June. We agreed to let her pay the1st month's rent on 30 May to our Realtor and pick up keys then, as we were moving out of state. Two days after signing, I received a text message at 8:45pm on the 26th wanting to know if we would go to another applicant. I said yes, but told her that at this point we have a legally binding agreement so we would hold her deposit and she would be liable for the rent as agreed until we find another suitable tenant and they move in and that the sooner she allows us to do that the better to mitigate any lost rent for us and her liability for that loss - but she would not give consent to look for another tenant. She claimed she has 3 days to cancel for whatever reason (or none at all) and was waiting for her lawyer (who's also her boyfriend) to confirm that - but she'll move in if she has to. We finally received a very simple, vague letter from her lawyer on Sat, 02 June, almost a week after signing the lease, simply stating that "persuant to the Landlord-Tenant laws of the State of New Jersey" (none in particular were cited) our tenant is terminating the agreement "within the three day termination period" and wants her deposit back. There wasn't anything wrong with our lease, she just changed her mind. So our property was available for rent as of the 1st, she hung us up with this nonsense for almost a week, my husband moved but I haven't because of this nonsense and now we're scrambling to get another tenant asap. Is there a law specifically stating that a tenant can actually do this, has 3 days after signing to just willy-nilly back out of a private party residential lease agreement? After extensive research, I still don't have a difinitive answer, although 95% of what I've read and heard says she can't w/o being held liable. In fact, it doesn't say anything about a "3 day termination period" or even attorney review in the Truth in Renting handbook. Of course I'm having my attorney respond, but does anyone know of any specific NJ laws/statutes regarding this - if there are any? Thank you ever so much...
almost 11 years ago
Nancy, your attorney should be able to clearly advise. I am not from NJ, but have never heard of such a law. A signed lease is a signed lease. The debate would be regarding the funds collected.
almost 11 years ago
Thank you, Karen. It seems that the laws in NJ regarding this are ambiguous; however, my lawyer agrees that I can hold her liable for lost rent until I find another tenant and is sending a letter to that effect. I'm a reasonable person - If the tenant had been honest with me from the get go and let me know right away instead of hanging me up while waiting to see if her lawyer could find a way to get her out of it without consequence, I may have returned her deposit and sent her on her way. But as it is, she waited a week after signing to confirm she wasn't going to move in leaving me just two days to try to get someone else in by the 1st of June - nearly impossible - which is why I'm adamant about holding her liable. Ahhhh....the joys of being a landlord!
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