Roles have changed in the contract by mistake lessor and lessee. Can it mean the contract is invalid?

We have signed a one year lease for a
business as private individuals with
another private individual. His
attorney changed our roles in the
contract by mistake. Rest of the
contract refers us only as lessor and
lessee. So technically he should pay us
the monthly rent. On the last page as
signature he has it right.
We would like to get out of the
contract because there was a lot
promised and nothing delivered. Can it
mean the contract is invalid?

Asked on September 22, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A typo, even transposing the names of the parties, does not invalidate a contract as long as it is still clear who is who and who owes or does what: the courts ignore harmless errors and typos in enforcing contracts, so long as the intention of the contract, its terms, and the identity of the parties is still clear. So the issue you describe will not invalidate this contract. 
If there is a material or important breach--something significant called for in the contract, which the other party was suppposed to do or provide or pay but did not--that important breach may let you terminate the contract: a material breach by party A allows party B to treat the contract as terminated at its option. But it has to be an important violation or breach. 


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