Rescission is a legal term for canceling a contract: It means that the contract is legally considered to have never happened. Depending on the location and the type of contract, one or both parties in a particular contract may have a particular right of rescission. This will apply for a set time after a contract is made, and is usually designed to cover situations where a party may not have had a chance to fully consider the terms of the contract, or may have been pressured into signing.
Federal law does give a right of rescission in some property contracts, but this applies to financing rather than the property purchase itself. The Federal Truth in Lending Act gives people who take out a home equity or other refinancing loan up to three days to rescind the contract. Rescinding cancels the deal and entitles them to a refund of fees paid. The Truth in Lending Act does not cover first mortgages, house purchases or leases.
Florida Law: Residential Leases
There is no right of rescission in Florida property leases. Once both parties have signed a lease, it is immediately legally valid and can only be ended in accordance with the terms of the contract or the prevailing tenancy laws of the state. It is possible for the lease itself to allow a rescission period, but this is not an automatic right and must be stated in the lease.
Florida Law: Unconscionable Rental Agreement
The only way a property rental agreement can be treated as if it didn't exist, rather than simply terminated, is if a court finds the agreement to be unconscionable. This means that the agreement is unfairly and excessively biased towards one party.
People who claim there is a right of rescission on lease contracts in Florida may be confused. It is possible they are thinking of the Federal Truth in Lending Act. Alternatively, they may be thinking of Florida legislation that allows for a rescission period in timeshare purchases.
A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.