What constitutes the voiding of a lease?

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What constitutes the voiding of a lease?

I signed a contract with my landlord for a 2 year contract. Our rent was $3000 a month. Then, 2 months ago, he lowered our rent down to $2000 so he could use the other side of the building to store his “personal belongings”. He was supposed to put up a wall at the end of last month. The wall has yet to be put up and it is currently a safety hazard to our athletes, not to mention an eyeswore. We just put in a 30 day leave notice. And he is now threatening us. Since he dropped rent down 2 months ago, would that not mean that the contract was broken? Since we are now renting the entire space out as it says in the contract?

Asked on August 11, 2014 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A lease may be modified by mutual agreement: if you agreed to let him take back some of the space in return for reduced rent, that modification would generally be held to be valid and there would be no breach or termination of lease. If he is, beyond that, denying you safe or useful space (e.g. if the lack of wall is in fact a safety hazard impairing use of the space by you), then that denial may be a breach of the implied warranty of hability and/or the covenant to quiet enjoyment; such breaches, IF severe enough, may allow you to treat the lease as terminated. First, though, you have to make sure the landlord has had notice from you that this is an issue, and a chance to correct the situation--if not, there is no breach. Second, be aware that this can be subjective, and if you were to treat the lease as terminqted but the landlord then sues you for breach, if a court felt the situation was not severe enough as to effectively deprive you of the use and utility of your leased space, you could be held to yourself have breached the lease and be liable to the landlord. You are advised to consult with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney about your situation before doing anything.


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