Q: I rented a condo last summer, planning to stay for a year. No formal lease was signed. The landlord told me in the winter that he was having trouble making his mortgage payments, and sure enough, the place was sold in April and I was given a month to move. I moved out, but wonder if I could have protested. --Jim F.
A: The key to your question lies not in the absence of a "formal lease." In fact, the phrase "formal lease" has no legal meaning. Instead, the question is what the parties -- you and the landlord -- intended when you reached your agreement.
If you both thought that the rental was for a year, but didn't reduce that understanding to writing, that simply means that you had an oral lease, which is enforceable in all