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My tenant signed the lease renewal agreement starting June 1st, but I have not signed it yet. The tenant has not paid May's rent yet and has been in violation a few times in the past. I would like to terminate the lease, i.e. not renew it from June 1st onwards.

Since the tenant has signed it, am I still legally bound to honoring the lease for another year?

Thanks much!

Update: My jurisdiction is Utah

  • You have to look for an automatic renewal clause or statute: there's more to renewing a lease than a signature. Start by saying what your jurisdiction is. – user6726 May 10 at 17:22
  • @user6726, updated the question, my jurisdictionis Utah – user1807337 May 10 at 17:24
  • Did you engage in any affirmative conduct to renew the lease (e.g. send them a renewal form)? Or did they download the renewal form from your website without you sending it specifically to you. – Acccumulation May 10 at 18:33
  • @Acccumulation, we send them a lease renewal notice. But their latest conduct is making us question our decision. In a bad spot – user1807337 May 10 at 19:00
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Assuming that you made the offer the tenant signed, the lease is binding

See https://law.stackexchange.com/a/6264/344

If the tenant is in breach of the contract (e.g. by not paying the rent) then you may be able to terminate it in accordance with its terms and local law.

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    The OP's main concern is evidently the enforceability of renewal, not the tenant's breach (default) in the last month of his current lease. The tenant's breach certainly prompts the landlord to change his mind, but a formed contract --here, the renewal-- logically cannot be terminated if it has not even started. – Iñaki Viggers May 10 at 22:00
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    @IñakiViggers if it’s a renewal, it’s the same lease – Dale M May 10 at 22:37
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    It would the same lease only in the case of automatic renewals. But here the need for tenant's signature in a renewal document strikes the presumption of renewal being automatic, and therewith the notion that it is the "same" lease. In fact, a renewal like this becomes possible only after both of the requirements for the formation of a contract have been met: an offer [via landlord's notice of lease renewal], and an acceptance [via tenant's signature]. – Iñaki Viggers May 10 at 23:08
  • You said this and I am wrong? I said it's binding if he made the offer lol. – Putvi May 11 at 17:55
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If you made the offer and the tenant accepted then yes you have to, but maybe if you asked the tenant, he/she would would agree to drop the contract.

You really should both sign at the same time to avoid this in the future.

  • Thanks @Putvi, usually we have to follow up with rent and that was okay, so we decided to extend the lease for another year, but this time they have not paid the rent after constant reminders and have violated the lease in the past. It was a mistake to have even offered to extend, we just wanted to help them out. – user1807337 May 10 at 17:17
  • If they have not paid for a long period of time, ask them to leave based on that. – Putvi May 10 at 17:31
  • I mean hopefully you guys can work it out and all get along, but that is the way to go if you can't. – Putvi May 10 at 17:33
  • My landlord has extended a lease renewal offer to me which I have not yet signed. The offer includes verbiage to the effect - the offer is not valid after XYZ date. I think requiring all parties to sign simultaneously is too cumbersome. – emory May 10 at 18:22
  • @emory sometimes it is. Nothing is 100% perfect, but when you can, it works out well. – Putvi May 10 at 18:23
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am I still legally bound to honoring the lease for another year?

No. You may void the renewal on grounds of mistake as to a basic assumption on which the contract was made. See the Restatement (Second) of Contracts at § 152-153.

Here, the basic assumption was the tenant's continued ability to pay rent. The tenant's failure to pay May's rent is tantamount to a new tenant's failure to pay the deposit, which is a cognizable reason for a landlord not to move forward with the lease.

The tenant's (unspecified) latest conduct to which you allude might reinforce the issue of mistaken basic assumption, more so if that conduct has taken place after you sent the renewal offer/notice.

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    This is wrong. If they signed the contract they have rights and would have to be terminated through the legal process. – Putvi May 10 at 19:36
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    @Putvi You are just downvoting without having a bare clue about the Restatement (Second) of Contracts on which this answer is based. Legal process would be needed for eviction purposes, but the OP is asking about renewal. – Iñaki Viggers May 10 at 19:37
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    @Putvi The reference I gave is in terms of "[when] the contract was made". This means that by that time, there is a "valid contract" which is voidable nonetheless. Also your comment that "you guys copy ideas on contracts from books to real world scenarios" only reflects your cluelessness of how frequently courts in the U.S. resort to the Restatement (Second) of Contracts to decide contract disputes. The problem with making baseless rebuttals is that you tend to mislead and confuse the OPs who seek some orientation about their issue. – Iñaki Viggers May 10 at 20:00
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    @DaleM Confusions about leasing unit #3 instead of unit #7 are unlikely to have a material effect on the agreed exchange of performances (one would have to make additional assumptions about the differences between unit #3 and #7). By contrast, a tenant's ability to pay is utmost essential in the exchange of performances, whence the landlord's mistaken assessment of a tenant's solvency qualifies as basic assumption for purposes of contract formation. – Iñaki Viggers May 10 at 21:49
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    @DaleM Mistake is defined as "a belief that is not accord with the facts" (Restatement at § 151). It is still unclear what you mean by "various categories of mistake", so to make yourself clearer you are the one who should identify case law that you think refutes the notion that an inaccurate assessment of tenant's continued solvency is cognizable as mistake. – Iñaki Viggers May 10 at 22:45

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