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Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

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Latest post Sat, Jan 28 2017 3:26 PM by DOCAR. 21 replies.
  • Wed, Jan 25 2017 1:13 PM

    Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    I signed a lease in October 2016, reluctantly because the amount in the rental agreement was higher than the amount I agreed to pay. The leasing agent assured me that it included parking ($75) in writing (email) and that once we signed the concessions in person, rent would be the amount we agreed to. The rental agreement didn't reference parking in any way so we trusted the agent and signed the agreement online via docusign and moved in 3 weeks later. That leasing agent left the company shortly after we moved in. 

    We were billed and paid rent for two months according to that agreement, having a $0 balance after paying rent, parking & utilities every month until 1/18/17. 

    Came home to a notice on our door that said we were billed incorrectly and had a balance owed, dating back to November for parking. The rental agreement states the total, which we were explicitly told included parking. Now they are trying to raise our rent $75/month for parking and back-charge us to move-in date. I forwarded the communications I have which include emails with explicit breakdowns of rent & parking from the original agent, as well as a screenshot from the property's billing system that broke the billing down as well and the new property manager says those communcations mean nothing because we signed a rental agreement and parking was additional.

    Additionally, my rent portal online has been altered and shows that I haven't paid rent in full since BEFORE I moved in. I paid a prorated amount prior to picking up my keys (exhibted and broken down in a screen shot from their system in November). I feel so uneasy about all of this and live in Washington state where landlords have a lot more protection than tenants. 

    Isn't that agreement voidable because we were mislead before signing the contract? I was recently laid off and can't afford an additional $75 a month, let alone an attorney. 

    Please help! I have 7 days to find a solution before rent is due again, increased, with these back-logged charges. 

  • Wed, Jan 25 2017 1:29 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    laymans guess...depends on your poker skills ....in general the LL is bound b the acts of its agents, especially the written acts of its agents ...BUT many a lease in the fine print says only this lease counts , no other amendments unless clearly made part of the lease ...what's in your fine print?    In general if LL creates a written   contract ambiguity the tenant gets benefit of doubt ..

    My guess...LL is bound by the written parking representations of his agent IF it goes to trial.

    My guess ..NO the gap is not a material failure of minds to meet, no, this is NOT a good point to seek the lease be held as voidable 

     

     

     



  • Wed, Jan 25 2017 3:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    Rentalagreementwoe:
    The leasing agent assured me that it included parking ($75) in writing (email) and that once we signed the concessions in person, rent would be the amount we agreed to. The rental agreement didn't reference parking in any way so we trusted the agent and signed the agreement online via docusign and moved in 3 weeks later.

    What you're telling us is that you signed a contract that did not reflect your agreement despite knowing that it didn't reflect your agreement.

     

    Rentalagreementwoe:
    they are trying to raise our rent $75/month for parking and back-charge us to move-in date.

    What it sounds like is that your landlord is requiring you to comply with the lease, as written, and not in some other way.

     

    Rentalagreementwoe:
    I forwarded the communications I have which include emails with explicit breakdowns of rent & parking from the original agent, as well as a screenshot from the property's billing system that broke the billing down as well and the new property manager says those communcations mean nothing because we signed a rental agreement and parking was additional.

    That makes perfect sense.  Everything leading up to the signed agreement is meaningless because you signed an agreement that says something different.  I'm guessing your lease has an integration clause that says exactly that.  Right?

     

    Rentalagreementwoe:
    Isn't that agreement voidable because we were mislead before signing the contract?

    How were you mislead?  You wrote in the very first paragraph that you knew at the time you signed that the lease didn't reflect what you had agreed to.  Right?  But you signed it anyway because some *** told you that things would be done in a way that was contrary to the signed agreement.  Right?

    Unless I'm missing something or reading what you wrote incorrectly, I don't see that you have any leg to stand on.

  • Wed, Jan 25 2017 4:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    I get it. 

    The leasing agent, in writing, told us that parking was included in the price on the rental agreement. The rental agreement did exclude or include any other costs so, because we had it in writing, we trusted that number because that total was what we agreed to. We were then billed according to that agreement for 3 months- both rent and parking. 

    Last week, a new property manager told us we were billed incorrectly and now owed back rent for parking. 

    I would not have signed the rental agreement if I had not been guaranteed that the amount on it included this extra cost. Which is where my question comes from about the contract being voidable because I was mislead in signing it. I wouldn't have signed it if 1) I wasn't assured the rental price included the parking fee or 2) the agreement itself said anything to contradict what the leasing agent told me. 

  • Wed, Jan 25 2017 8:41 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    I fail to see your voidable point.....if anything you initially got what you bargained for ...and apparently both sides ratified same by billing and paying same ......I as a layman think you have some solid points that the deal is as written inc the parking.  But I  fail to see your voidable logic .  Pay the deal as was agreed and force the new manager to litigate?  



  • Wed, Jan 25 2017 8:47 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    IF the final version clearly excluded parking it would be different ..but you wrote the lease was silent ...

     

    I am pretty darn clear what is in my leases and not in .....either your LL is sloppy or you are missing something in the lease......I'm not in your jurisdiction....but as LL I'd not give myself good odds in front of my local judge  IF you have a clear written record of parking being in the lease at the correct $ as initially billed .  

     



  • Thu, Jan 26 2017 8:58 AM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    You're not going to get the lease voided.

    You didn't answer whether your lease has an integration clause, and that's a significant -- albeit not dispositive -- fact.  If it doesn't, then your best argument would appear to be that, because the lease itself is silent about the issue of parking, the agent's prior e-mail agreement is part of the contract such that the two documents should be read together.

  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 10:50 AM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    Rentalagreementwoe:
    Last week, a new property manager told us we were billed incorrectly and now owed back rent for parking.

    So did you forward the email saying the parking cost was included in your rent to this property manager?  What did he or she say?

    You say the lease said nothing about parking;  how and when did you first learn that there was normally a separate charge for parking?

  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 12:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    I forwarded all communications to managment within minutes of being notified of the new balance. They said the leasing agent was no longer with the company and that our rent would be X amount moving forward ($75 more, before parking). 

    We always knew parking was an additional $75 - The problem is that we were told the parking was included in the price on the rental agreement.

    Breakdown we were told prior to signing the rental agreement (and agreed to): 
    Rent: $1937
    Parking: $75
    Total: $2012

    $2012 is the amount on the rental agreement. Then we signed another document for concessions which deducted $169 a month from that total, leaving us with a total of $1843 per month, after $75 for parking. Which is what the agent sent us as a screenshot from their computer system prior to us moving in.

    We were billed and paid according to this breakdown for 3 months. 

    There is a claus on the contract, but the date we signed the contract, electronically, was 10/28/16. We signed the concession 11/1/16 and didn't sign receipt for keys 3 weeks later, which did have a $75 charge but, as we understood, that was inline with what we thought we had agreed to. 

    I did read the rental agreement in its entirety before signing. Everything made sense and seemed accurate, according to the breakdown and screenshot from the property's computer system that the leasing agent sent us. 

    I wouldn't have signed the contract if it wasn't explicitly given that breakdown prior to signing. And even then, based on what I was told and shown by the agent, each document made sense to sign. 

     

  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 12:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    I understand, in hindsight, that we shouldn't have signed the rental agreement. This rental agreement and process was unlike any I've dealt with before. I mean, 3 separate elements of the lease signed over the course of 3+ weeks? It was very confusing and we trusted the agent when he told us the price on the rental agreement included parking. 

    I just feel very mislead and I wouldn't have signed the agreement without the communications that took place leading up to it. 

    The purpose of this thread isn't to ask if I'm right or wrong, it's to ask if there's a way out of my contract because I was lied to going into it.

  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 1:34 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
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    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    It may depend upon whether the lease had the integration clause that CAlawyer repeatedly asked about.  The best I can say is if it does have it, probably not. If it doesn't have the clause, maybe, depending upon the judge.  The only way to know for sure is to breach the lease, see if they sue you and what the judge or jury in the case determines at the end of the trial.  I would assume there is an attorneys clause in the lease, which means that the losing party will have to pay both his and the winning parties attornies.

    The decision is yours.

  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 1:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    It did have a claus, I stated that earlier. The claus is in the contract we signed on 10/27/16 that is silent about parking. The only dollar amount in the contract is $2012 which we were told included  both rent ($1937) and parking ($75), prior to signing and, again, after signing. We were billed according to this, with documentation that corroborated these numbers prior to moving in as well. 

     

     

     

  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 4:14 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
      Lawyer
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    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    That is not the clause we are referring to.  Most contracts, including leases, have a provision that states generally that the contract contains all the terms of the agreement and no other agreements oral or in writing that are not incorporated into the contract are valid/binding/enforceable.  Or something similar.

  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 4:45 PM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    Rentalagreementwoe:
    We always knew parking was an additional $75

    Really?  When you were born you knew this?  I'll assume not, so I'll ask again:

    How did you learn it?  Can they point to something that would show a judge that you knew or should have known when you signed the lease that the rent in the lease did not include parking?

    Rentalagreementwoe:
    Then we signed another document for concessions which deducted $169 a month from that total

    This is new, and hopeful, information.  Do you have a copy of this concessions document?  Does it say for how many months the reduced rent rate applies?  Usually "concessions" involve temporary teaser rates.

    Big picture, you are VERY unlikely to be able to void your lease and just move out without consequence.

    But just how much rent you should be paying depends on the details of everything you signed, and it's hard to figure those out from what you've shared here so far.

    It sounds like the landlord used a third-party online-signing service, which I would HATE because there is no chance to negotiate clarifying edits.  It seems to be take-it-or-leave-it.  Grrrr.

  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 5:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    Here is the conversation that took place on 10/27/16 prior to signing the electronic rental agreement on 10/28/16: 

    ME:
    Hi there,

    I just reviewed the rental agreement and saw the rate for rent listed is $2012- does it need to be adjusted?

    Thank you!

    AGENT:
    Hello,

    That is the correct rent amount it includes $75 monthly parking, and there will be a deduction monthly of $169.

    Which will bring your rent down to $1843 monthly .

    Please let me know if you have any question please.

    Thank you,

    ME:
    I understand- I'll have to read the documents closer once I can get on a computer.

    Our concern is signing a lease agreement that doesn't mention the rate after the deduction- in past leases, the special rates were documented in the agreement.

    Sorry to be a bother, I just want to make sure we know exactly what we are signing.

    Thanks!

    AGENT:
    Hello,

    Absolutely please don't feel like you bothering me , that's what I'm here for .

    Finally the concession can never be signed online , you will have to sign that in the office along with your key receipt .

    -------------------------------------

    So, that is the conversation I had with the agent before signing the actual rental agreement, which was silent about parking. Because the rental agreement was silent about parking, I believed the sum of $2012 to include parking based on the above conversation. 

    The concessions document states a total of $2366 over a 14 month term. This document was signed on 11/1/16, 4 days later. 

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