Can a Landlord Sue a Tenant for Unpaid Rent if No Lease Was Signed?

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‘I have a verbal agreement with my landlord. No papers were ever signed. She has not stuck to things that were suppose to be fixed for past year, one being a fire hazard. So, I am moving out and don’t feel I should give her any rent money for this month being I been living in a dangerous house. I paid a deposit and they’re not giving it back so I feel what I’m doing is fair. I just want to make sure legally I can’t get in trouble, being nothing was ever signed on either side.’

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

It depends.

You can rent property under a verbal agreement in most states. The problem with verbal agreements is that they depend on both parties’ memories being the same. When it comes to a lawsuit to recover rent, will your landlord remember the agreement the same way you do? (The answer is “no.”)

If you move out without paying the last month’s rent, your landlord may keep your deposit and may try to sue you for additional rent/cleaning/repair costs. Knowing that risk, you should have evidence
ready in case it happens so you can defend yourself in the lawsuit.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.