Can I cancel a room rental contract if the studio owner mislead me?

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Can I cancel a room rental contract if the studio owner mislead me?

I signed a year contract to rent a room in a salon to provide waxing services, majority are Brazilian waxing. The salon owner had mostly hair dressers and was happy for the service. Owner told me to just apply for city license for 120. When applying for my city license, I was told that studio was not approved for disrobing services and that the owner should’ve known that before renting to me. The majority of my clients must disrobe to some extent and the owner said I should’ve lied, but my website shows the services I offer and I’d like to run a legit business. I’d have to pay for 3 month signage, advertise the business intent in local paper for 3 months and meet with the city council-an additional 1,400 cost- and can be rejected after the 3 months. Owner said he’d put my rent on hold for 3 months, but I can’t do without the income and want to terminate the contract. Can I cancel the contract stating that the owner doesn’t have city approval for disrobing on the premises and I should’ve never been taken on as a leasee?

Asked on January 16, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If the owner actively lied to you about whether disrobing was permitted, then the owner committed fraud and fraud would allow you to void the lease/contract. But the owner has no obligation to determine for you if your business can be conducted there, so they had no obligation to make sure you could conduct your business there--their only obligation is to not actually lie to you. Generally, it is the tenant's obligation to research this (to do their "due diligence" before renting) and the landlord is not responsible to make sure that you can use the property the way you want to; rather, this was your responsibility. So in the absence of a misrepresentation or lie by the owner, you would seem to be obligated to the lease.


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