What to do if a month ago I rented a vacation house in the mountains for this summer and they are now raising the price by $2000?

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What to do if a month ago I rented a vacation house in the mountains for this summer and they are now raising the price by $2000?

I found a small house online at a vacation rental website. I paid in full that day. I just got a call from them saying there was an error and the price in now $2000 more. I paid by credit card in full and have a receipt. Is that legal for them to do that. I do not want a refund; I want to get out of the Palm Springs heat. That is why I rented the house in the mountains. At first call they tried to tell me that the house was sold and the tried to change that thought in later calls and said it was sold but fell out of escrow.

Asked on April 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there was an offer to rent the house to you for a certain amount, you accepted that offer, and you furnished consideration (something of value) in the form of payment, an enforceable contract was formed and the landlord is obligated to rent to you at that price. It does not matter if they could have or should have asked for more--they did not, and are bound to the agreement they struck.

You could enforce your rights in court, through a lawsuit--but bear  in mind that if you can't work matters out with the landlord, the only way to enforce your rights is with a lawsuit. Also, while you could seek what's known as "specific performance"--a court order requiring them to honor the agreement and rent to you at the agreed-upon price--the courts typically disfavor specific performance; the legal system prefers to provide monetary compensation, such as a return of your payment and, if you had to rent a different property at a higher price, possibly the difference in rent, too. Therefore, while you do have enforceable rights, it is not a given that you could vindicate them by forcing these people to rent to you; there is a reasonable chance that your recourse would be some amount of monetary compensation.


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