When our two year lease was up, the landlord agreed to about her 2 year lease by email and stated that the rent would remain the same. This was all agreed upon by both parties via email with no signatures.

Now they want to sell the condo and if we can't purchase it they want us out so it can be sold.

Is our lease without signatures legal?

  • 6
    Questions "Is XXX legal" should have location tag. How can anyone answer what's legal without knowing what country's laws you are talking about?
    – littleadv
    Jul 4, 2014 at 2:45
  • 1
    Also, this is really a legal question, not a personal finance question. However, the short answer is that a lease is a contract and a contract does not require a signature. HOWEVER, it certainly helps prove that both parties consented to the contract if it goes to court. On the other hand if you can prove you paid rent and lived there and the landlord can't show another lease you signed, you probably have a decent case for the lease being binding on both parties.
    – JohnFx
    Jul 4, 2014 at 6:08
  • 1
    In some places however it is legal for the landlord to break the lease in case of sale or moving in.
    – littleadv
    Jul 4, 2014 at 6:44
  • @littleadv: That's why a location tag is needed. There are many laws governing housing contracts and leases in particular. I could imagine other valid reasons, such as unrepairable damage to the house (think hurricane)
    – MSalters
    Jul 4, 2014 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


Legality without location is tricky, but here a few thing to consider.

  • What does the original lease say. Many leases convert automatically to a month-to-month lease at the end of the stated term. If the new lease is invalid, did the old lease convert to month-to-month.

  • Was there an actual stated end of the new lease. Or did the email just say that the (two year lease) was extended. Extended could be interpreted as convert to month-to-month, if that was in the original contract.

  • Were there any other changes in the new lease and were these changes implemented. In this case a small change in rent would have been proof that the new paperwork replaced the old paperwork. Did the new lease make some change: access to a garage, replacement of carpet, new paint...

  • Was there a special requirement in either the new or the old lease that needed to be done to make it enforceable. This could be notarization or filing with a government agency. Was this also required for the new lease, and was it done.

Many States in the United States produce guidebooks to help renters and landlords with these types of issues. They may be of help.

There is at lease one other option: negotiate a fee to help pay for moving expenses.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .