Is a verbal contract agreed by both parties enforceable to terminate a lease early, even when one party changes their mind?

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Is a verbal contract agreed by both parties enforceable to terminate a lease early, even when one party changes their mind?

My landlord verbally agreed to let me out of my lease. They did not properly disclose lead hazards in the house and my wife is pregnant. One of the documents provided at the signing of the lease stated that no lead hazards were present, however they acknowledged several hazards after we moved in. We agreed that I would move at the end of the month, pay no more rent beyond that date, and receive a refund of my deposit minus any damages. I documented this in a letter I signed and delivered to them. They responded with a letter that changes our agreement, claiming I have to honor the lease.

Asked on December 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Rhode Island

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you entered into the lease of the rental that you have where certain known material problems with it such as the presence of lead were not disclosed to you beforehand and the landlord knew of these problems, then there is the possibility for you to cancel the lease (rescind it) if the items not disclosed were material components for one to enter into the lease.

The landlord is obligated to disclose to you all known to him or her that is material that would impact a willing tenant to enter into the lease.

I would write your landlord a letter memorializing the failure to disclose known material conditions regarding the unit before you entered into the lease and the agreement to end it. I would request that a copy of the letter sent be dated, signed and returned confirming that you can cancel the lease.

If the landlord refuses to sign the agreement cancelling the lease, you should consult with a landlord tenant attorney about your situation.


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