If I want to terminate mytenancy 5 months early and my lease has errors in it, canI use that fact to break it without penalty?

UPDATED: Jan 29, 2011

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If I want to terminate mytenancy 5 months early and my lease has errors in it, canI use that fact to break it without penalty?

The contract was incorrectly filled out by my landlord and I am now just finding the flaws. The 11 month lease is from 07/10 to 06/11, however, my landlord filled out 06/10 instead. I told him and he said he wrote it in a rush and that I know what he means. Also, he said that I am responsible for electricity and he would pay water and oil. However, the contract says the opposite. Additionally, the windows are all painted shut and the place is generally unpleasant. Is this enough to terminate my contract?

Asked on January 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, generally unpleasant is not a valid reason to terminate a lease.  You can terminate a lease - which is a contract - for a breach of the contract, meaning that he failed to live up to the terms as written, or for breach of what is known as the warranty of habitability.  That warranty has to do with things like heat, appliances working, gas working, water working, toilets working, free from pests, etc.  Granted the windows should not be painted shut for safety reasons.  That needs to be brought to his attention and changed.  As for the date, that was not an error that would render the contract void.  It was an obvious mistake.  As for the oil and water, those are real issues but you are going to be held to have read the lease before you signed it and held to the terms.  Your conversations may not be admissible to state otherwise.  Maybe ask the landlord to let you out early but try and find a new tenant for him.Good luck.

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