What can I do if I’m a first time small business owner and my landlord lied about the cost of utilities?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What can I do if I’m a first time small business owner and my landlord lied about the cost of utilities?

My landlord lied about the utilities available at the building and now is making responsible for paying half of the central air for the whole building, knowing that I am only there for appointments 3 days per month. He told me there was no central air and that the vents in the unit were to be kept covered until winter because the heat would escape but that the window ac unit worked great for the previous tenant. The central ac is in the retail shop downstairs who’s building is 2x the size of mine. My utility bills were withheld for 3 months and I am just now finding out about central ac. Is this legal?

Asked on August 31, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

This may be fraud. Fraud is when someone else makes a material, or important, misrepresentation of fact, which he does to induce, or cause, you to do something or enter into some transaction, on which mistatement you rely and on which it was reasonable to rely no obvious reasons not to rely on it. If your landlord lied about the AC and utilities cost, he may have committed fraud if so, you may have grounds to recoer compensation such as the utilities cost from him, though you would have to sue him to get the money if he will not voluntarily pay it. You need to weigh whether the cost and inconvenience/distraction of a lawsuit, plus the damage to the landlord-tenant relationship, is worth the amount of money you hope to recover.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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