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HelpMeFluther12's avatar

Must a landlord give me a copy of my lease?

Asked by HelpMeFluther12 (25points) January 7th, 2011

I live at an apartment complex where the landlord is refusing to give me a copy of the lease. The problem is that the lease has an error on it and they want me to sign a “corrected” copy which I refuse to do.

The lease basically states

“The base rent will be $400 payable in installments of $3120 per month”

which is obviously an error. This should state

“The base rent will be $3120 payable in installments of $400 per month”

Can I legally compel the apartment complex to give me a copy of my signed lease despite this error. I do not want to fix which could arguably be a “void” contract.

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10 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Sign a corrected copy and write on it that this replaces the previous lease, have them initial that sentence and make sure they sign the lease as well as you, if you worry they won’t give you a copy insist you are presented with two signed copies, two originals before you sign, and keep one.

iamthemob's avatar

What is your actual legal concern here? If the initial contract is considered void, you have no legal right to take hold of the premises.

If you’re living there now, and the initial lease is potentially void, then what is your reticence about signing a lease that would guarantee your rights.

HelpMeFluther12's avatar


I worry about giving them a fix to my void contract if something were to go wrong and I were forced to leave. Would something as simple as this mis-statement be grounds to call this contract null and void, or at least open up a legal can of worms that they might not be willing to fight.

I just need a copy of the lease to show that I moved in on X date for an unrelated matter.


I’m not worried about guaranteeing my rights. I wouldn’t mind of they kick me out under a void contract. I’de get to leave and they wouldn’t sue me for “breaking my lease.” Win Win for me!

EDIT: Plus they would not kick me out for this… As long as I pay they are fine.

I signed once. I feel they have no right to make me “help them” by correcting their mistakes.

JLeslie's avatar

@HelpMeFluther12 I am not a lawyer, laws vary by state, but I was a realtor. If the new contract covers everything you are concerned about you should be ok I think. If it states when you actually moved in, when the lease is up, that it replaces the old lease, I think you should be fine.

Even the old lease as it is, probably is fine, because a judge would understand the mistake, and they have been accepting your checks.

Sounds like they are just trying to straighten their records.

They should give you a copy of the old lease, it is very possible the person you are dealing with made the mistake, is not very knowledgeable about your rights, maybe they want to bury the mistake, because they are afraid of getting in trouble, so you might need to go above their heads if it is important to you to get the copy of the lease. Just guessing.

john65pennington's avatar

This is all about civil liability. by law, anything you sign, you have a legal right to a copy. push the issue with your landlord. if this does not work, advise you landlord that you are contacting an attorney, in this matter. this should do the trick for you.

iamthemob's avatar


It’s not a win-win for you though. If nothing goes wrong, and they feel the contract is obviously void, you can be asked to leave often on 30 days notice in most areas.

If this is the only change, then all you’re doing is correcting a clerical error, and the terms and conditions are as they were before, which you’ve already agreed to. Without a lease, you don’t know whether or not you’re going to have a place to live on anything much longer than a monthly period.

I’ll tell you though – this is a simple clerical error on the face of it. If you have taken possession of the property, and paid rent during one of the monthly cycles, I doubt that a judge would render this void or voidable. The calculation is clear, and if you’ve sent and they’ve accepted a month’s rent, it’s clear you both understand the true terms and meaning.

Refusing to sign the lease in an attempt to keep options open is more than likely (1) futile and (2) just going to create bad blood between you and your property managers.

Plus, I mean…the lease that you signed requires a payment of you in the amount of $3120 for a month. Literally, that would mean you pay them that amount, and they would return all but $400 of that to you someway that is unspecified, and at no particular time…it seems that if we’re taking this as on the face for the terms, then you’ll be in breach very fast.

HelpMeFluther12's avatar

Thanks. Just wanted to confirm

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Just refuse to sign until they give you the copy you want. Both of you win.

citizenearth's avatar

You only need to sign the lease when you agree to it. The landlord have to give you a copy of the signed lease. It is that simple.

Regarding your request, you tell the landlord to give you the previously signed lease first before you agree to sign the corrected lease. You have every right to have that copy. The latest lease agreement shall made the previous lease obsolete. I think the landlord do not want you to have two ‘different’ leases for the apartment which you rent. By the way, you only need to have one copy of the lease, the latest signed one of course.

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