What recourse do I have if my landlord did not deliver on promises made that would have effected my decision on signing the Lease.

I have small martial arts studio and was in need of space have my classes. We found a company who agree to lease us space. Our biggest concern was the fact that we were a start up and had little to no following, Marketing/promotions, ease of doing business and accessibility. I made it know that if we did not have help in these areas I would not feel comfortable signing the lease. We were told that the company would help us with marketing and promotions through their network of clients and patrons, email blasts and monthly news letters. None of this was provided in fact our own efforts to market and promote on the premises where pulled down, thrown away and moved into closets. This all resulting in the loss of students and income, thus resulting in us having to terminate our lease early because we could not afford to stay.

Asked on June 23, 2016 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In theory, you could claim that there was fraud--material misrepresentations (or lies) knowingly made to induce you to sign the lease. That could potentially allow you out of the lease (void or rescind it) and/or seek montary compensation.
However, it will be a significant uphill battle and there is a very good chance you will not prevail and will be held to the lease:
1) When there is a signed written contract, like a lease, prior discussions or promises are generally held to have been wholly superceded by the written contract and only the terms of the lease, not prior promises, are binding and enforceable. This is especially so in commercial leases, where courts conclude that the parties are (relatively) sophisticated business persons or entities; and also, many leases specifically state that there are no promises or side arrangements outside the lease (check your lease to see if it says this).
2) For there to be fraud, your reliance on the promise must have been reasonable; but a court could easily conclude that it was not reasonable to rely on a promise which did not make its way into a written agreement.
You should speak with an attorney in depth to explore whether you could make out a fraud claim, but need to be prepared that may be unable to and may have no grounds for relief.


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