Do I have grounds to break the lease without penalty and get my deposit returned if the landlord is unwilling to reduce rent or lay for an offsite storage unit?

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Do I have grounds to break the lease without penalty and get my deposit returned if the landlord is unwilling to reduce rent or lay for an offsite storage unit?

My landlord and I signed a memorandum of lease which included a note that a storage unit was included with the property. This was also discussed verbally with myself, my agent and the listing agent. There was no note of the storage unit on the lease signed by the tenant and landlord. Upon move in, the storage unit was still occupied and a few days later I was informed the storage unit was not available for this unit.

Asked on December 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there is a signed agreement (the "memorandum of lease") indicating that a storage locker would come with the unit, that is enforceable. However, it most likely would not allow you to terminate the lease without penalty, since it is probably not "material"--or critical--enough a breach to allow you to treat the lease as terminated. Only breaches going to the fundamental purpose of the lease allow termination in that way, and it's unlikely that the absence of a storage locker would be found to be so fundamental. Instead, you likely have grounds to seek monetary compensation from the landlord, such as a reduction in rent commensurate with the cost of renting a like-sized storage unit offsite. If the landlord will not voluntarily do this, you'd have to bring a legal action: you could seek a declaratory judgment and injunction (court determination and order) specifying that you are entitled to a certain rent credit.

 


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