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Is an unfinished subletting application a binding contract

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Is an unfinished subletting application a binding contract

Postby Metasyntactic » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:30 am

For a while i was considering subletting my apt. During that time a prospective tenant filled out an application. Right after that, i changed my mind and decided to not go ahead and sublet the apt to him. I had not signed the application, nor had the actual landlord seen, signed, or otherwise approved the sublet application.

Now, the prospective tenant is stating that the application he submitted is a binding contract and that I must make the apt available to him.

This doesn't make any sense to me. Based on this concept anyone could complete an application and then lay claim to an apt, regardless of what the lessee or the landlord actually wished.

Who is in the right/wrong here, and what rules are in place concerning this.

Thanks very much for your help!
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Postby TenantNet » Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:49 am

There are subletting rules in the Forum's reference section (link above), but most of these relate to issues between the prime tenant and the landlord.

FYI, not all tenants contemplating subletting their unit use an actual application, but you did, and I assume somewhere on the document it actually uses the word "application" and that you explained to the applicant the process, i.e., that you would review the information, share it with the LL (if that was your intent) and let him/her know. All that is just standard courtesy, but could go to establishing what did/did not occur.

Having said all that, I would agree with your assessment that a simple application does not create any sort of binding contract. I would also look at the elements of a contract to determine if the document even resembles a contract or agreement. Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lease
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Postby Metasyntactic » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:28 am

TenantNet wrote:There are subletting rules in the Forum's reference section (link above), but most of these relate to issues between the prime tenant and the landlord.

FYI, not all tenants contemplating subletting their unit use an actual application, but you did, and I assume somewhere on the document it actually uses the word "application"

Yes. It says it is the "Uniform Residential Application" on it.
and that you explained to the applicant the process, i.e., that you would review the information, share it with the LL (if that was your intent) and let him/her know.

Precisely. I said "thank you" for the application and that it would have to be approved by myself and the landlord and that i would let him know in a few days about the outcome. I let him know a week later about the outcome. And then he got upset and threatened to sue if i didn't give him the property.
All that is just standard courtesy, but could go to establishing what did/did not occur.

Having said all that, I would agree with your assessment that a simple application does not create any sort of binding contract. I would also look at the elements of a contract to determine if the document even resembles a contract or agreement. Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lease
Thank you. I will!
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