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Landlord counter-signature required for lease to be binding?

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Landlord counter-signature required for lease to be binding?

Postby homeisheart » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:02 am

I'm looking for the laws and statutes that point to what I've been told (by lawyers and housing court) is true:

If a Landlord provides a written lease and the tenant a) signs lease

then the lease is legally binding even if the landlord did not counter-sign and return a copy.

Is that true? where can I read that?

is it not even further support for the lease to be binding (even without counter signature) based on landlord

a) accepting the deposit, first month rent etc b) giving keys c) depositing rent checks received

Any legal documentation that I can point to/cite that supports this would be helpful.

Also - under what conditions would the lease signed by tenant and not countersigned by the landlord NOT be binding?

Thank you so much! Eager for your help!
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Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:53 am

Re: Landlord counter-signature required for lease to be bind

Postby TenantNet » Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:46 am

First, understand that laws and statutes are not the only things to look at. There are also rules, opinions and case law. When someone says something is not allowed, you won't always find it spelled out as clear as you or I might like. Even when something seems very clear, the landlord might come up with an equally appealing argument in court or before DHCR.

And then you will find judges who are lazy or biased... often just wanting cases to go away to clear their calendar.

Now in general, what I know and have heard is that when a LL makes an offer and the tenant accepts the offer, that is binding even if the LL fails to "execute" or sign the lease and send it back to the tenant. I've seen a number of case law citations on this "rule," but no actual statute. Some also say that the LL's offer is binding even if the tenant fails to accept it.

But on the other hand, a few years back the practice of "deeming" leases (when tenants fail to act) was ended. If RS, any over-payment if the LL "deems" a lease could be seen as an overcharge. OTOH, LLs can always take a tenant to Housing Court in a holdover. You can find more about the deemed lease issue by Googling "nys rent stabilization deeming leases"

So the practice of deeming was when the LL claimed a lease is binding and when a tenant failed to act.

Accepting a deposit and first month, accepting rent, etc., is - in our opinion - a strong argument that a landlord-tenant relationship has been created, but it doesn't specify if that's a regular lease, RS lease or month-to-month tenancy.

If a LL of a RS tenant fails to execute the lease, then in our opinion, it would have to be a RS tenancy. However, I've seen some references that the result is a M2M tenancy with RS rights.

And if that isn't as confusing, some LL's will demand payment of "use and occupancy" when they claim the tenant isn't entitled to a lease.

I guess the point is that there are many different types of situations and one would have to look at all the facts of your situation.

Having said all that, I think this decision spells out what you are looking for:

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/c ... 544-0.html
and also see https://casetext.com/case/123-west-15-v-compton-1

MATTER OF E. 56TH PLAZA, INC. v. New York City Conciliation & Appeals Bd.

Annotate this Case
56 N.Y.2d 544 (1982)

In the Matter of East 56th Plaza, Inc., Respondent, v. New York City Conciliation and Appeals Board, Appellant.

Court of Appeals of the State of New York.

Argued February 15, 1982.

Decided March 25, 1982.

Cullen S. McVoy, Ellis S. Franke and William E. Rosen for appellant.

David Abrams and Arthur Richenthal for respondent.

Chief Judge COOKE and Judges JASEN, JONES, WACHTLER and FUCHSBERG concur in memorandum; Judges GABRIELLI and MEYER dissent and vote to affirm for reasons stated in the opinion by Justice JOSEPH P. SULLIVAN at the Appellate Division (80 AD2d 389).


The order of the Appellate Division should be reversed, with costs, and the judgment of Supreme Court, New York County, reinstated.

Section 60 of the Code of the Real Estate Industry Stabilization Association of New York City requires the landlord to offer the tenant renewal of the lease on the same terms except for authorized rent increases. Subdivision 7 of section 61 of the code creates an additional exception permitting the landlord to include a 90-day termination clause in the lease whenever the landlord has satisfied the Department of Housing Preservation and Development that a proposed co-operative or condominium plan has been submitted to the Attorney-General. The obvious statutory scheme and purpose is to require the landlord to provide the tenant, within the statutory period, with a binding offer containing all terms of the lease including the possibility of premature termination if a pending condominium or co-operative plan should become effective. Acceptance by the tenant then creates a binding lease agreement on the terms authorized by statute and included in the offer. Because in this case the offer did not, and could not then, include the cancellation clause prior to the tenant's acceptance, that clause could not be part of the binding lease agreement.

The fact that the landlord may not have intended the proposed lease and transmittal letter to constitute a binding offer is immaterial because the statute requires that the offer be binding.

Order reversed, etc.
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