Can our property manager change the lease after it has already been finalized?

I received a contract to renew my lease for the upcoming year. Then 2 weeks later the quote that my property manager gave me was found to be incorrect and the amount was much less than expected; however we had already signed the contract. Now, our manager wants to increase the rent amount. The contract was already signed by both parties. Is the manager’s wish to change the contract legal?

Asked on July 14, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


Jeffrey Kaplan / Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Kaplan

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, no. A deal is a deal, as they say. However, the specifics of your case might warrant a different conclusion. This depends on what representations were made by each of you before the lease was signed. It also depends on the nature of the mistake. 

If it was the landlord's mistake and you knew, or should have known about it, the court will probably side with your landlord. For example, if he informed you that he was increasing the rent to $500, but the new lease stated the old rent of $450, you were aware of the mistake when you signed the lease. Another example is if the lease states that rent is $50 when it should have been $500. No reasonable person would believe rent is only $50. The court could reform the contract to read $500 and hold you to it, finding that you were trying to take advantage of an obvious error.

There are also some circumstances in which the court would simply void the lease, such as when both parties are mistaken as to a material provision of the lease. 

You should contact a lawyer in your area who handles landlord-tenant issues for a free consultation.

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