Is there a way to terminate the lease if I just signed and no money has been exchanged?

11/10/2007 - Category:Landlord Tenant - Lease Termination - State: VA #12027

Full Question:

My husband and I found a house that we were interested in renting...we viewed the home, and decided we wanted to rent the home. Since my husband works out of town, I was to meet with the realtor representing the property to look over the lease . I met with the realtor and signed the lease. We are to move in on the 15th of November. There was an agreement that we could move a few things into the house on the 9th.( Our storage unit payment was due on the 10th, and wanted to avoid having to pay an entire month) While moving a few things in that evening...a neighbor walked by and after talking with him for a moment realized he was a really bad alcoholic or some sort of druggy??? I have 3 small children and am pregnant with our 4th and as I stated earlier, and my husband works out of town during the week. So, you can see my concern with the crazy living next door! My question is...Is the lease legaly binding since my husband never signed it? I have the original copy that the realtor gave me and I have no idea if she made a copy of where I signed it? I know that there is a law or policy that states your income must be at least 3 times your rent payment and of course by my husbands income it is, but I, however am NOT employed at all so?

Answer:

The following are Virginia statutes:

§ 55-248.7. Terms and conditions of rental agreement; copy for tenant.
A. A landlord and tenant may include in a rental agreement, terms and conditions not prohibited by this chapter or other rule of law, including rent, charges for late payment of rent, term of the agreement, automatic renewal of the rental agreement, requirements for notice of intent to vacate or terminate the rental agreement, and other provisions governing the rights and obligations of the parties.
B. In the absence of a rental agreement, the tenant shall pay as rent the fair rental value for the use and occupancy of the dwelling unit.
C. Rent shall be payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is payable at the place designated by the landlord and periodic rent is payable at the beginning of any term of one month or less and otherwise in equal installments at the beginning of each month.
D. Unless the rental agreement fixes a definite term, the tenancy shall be week to week in case of a roomer who pays weekly rent, and in all other cases month to month.
E. If the rental agreement contains any provision whereby the landlord may approve or disapprove a sublessee or assignee of the tenant, the landlord shall within 10 business days of receipt by him of the written application of the prospective sublessee or assignee on a form to be provided by the landlord, approve or disapprove the sublessee or assignee. Failure of the landlord to act within 10 business days shall be deemed evidence of his approval.
F. A copy of any written rental agreement signed by both the tenant and the landlord shall be provided to the tenant within one month of the effective date of the written rental agreement. The failure of the landlord to deliver such a rental agreement shall not affect the validity of the agreement.
G. No unilateral change in the terms of a rental agreement by a landlord or tenant shall be valid unless (i) notice of the change is given in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement or as otherwise required by law and (ii) both parties consent in writing to the change.
§ 55-248.8. Effect of unsigned or undelivered rental agreement. —
If the landlord does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement signed and delivered to him by the tenant, acceptance of rent without reservation by the landlord gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the landlord. If the tenant does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement signed and delivered to him by the landlord, acceptance of possession or payment of rent without reservation gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the tenant. If a rental agreement, given effect by the operation of this section, provides for a term longer than one year, it is effective for only one year.


Please also see the information at the following links:

http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/landlord-tenant/uniform-residential-landlord-tenant-act/5634/
http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/landlord-tenant/summary-of-residential-landlord-tenant-law/5654/

11/10/2007 - Category: Lease Termination - State: VA #12027

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