What can we do if we bought a suite in an office building to run our business but are now being told that our business is not permitted?

We signed the deed and covenant. A year later we are being asked to cease and desist because our business is not permitted as per the covenant they have. The version of the covenant we signed does not have the clause that makes our business not permitted. We were told the attorneys provided us the wrong covenant and we are bound to the current one. Is this true?

Asked on November 20, 2015 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The covenant should not apply to you IF it was the attorneys for the other side who provided you the wrong one: if they did and you agreed to rent under the terms and conditions they provided, they cannot now change those terms and conditions. (Note though that if you business is barred by local ordinance or zoning, they will apply; the terms of any covenants, deeds, etc. do not overrule statutes or ordinances.) If they made the error, they should now be bound to what they had agreed to at the time.
If it was your attorneys (or your realtor) who erred, then they likely can enforce the covenant against you (since it was "your side" which erred), but you most likely have a malpractice suit for compensation (e.g. the cost of moving any any business disruption) against the professionals who erred.

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