What are my rights as a tenant if the landlord did not inform me as to whenI could move into my rental unit?

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What are my rights as a tenant if the landlord did not inform me as to whenI could move into my rental unit?

I put down $7,000 deposit in March for a space in a new shopping center which planned on opening in April. This place did not open until the middle of the summer. The owner did not notify me of the opening so I did not set up my rented space. Now, he rented my place to a competitor and refused to refund my deposit. I have negotiated with him in person a few times with no success. Would you tell me what is my position and what rights do I have?

Asked on October 5, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am really hoping that you have a written agreement with the landlord.  Did you read it?  What does it say?  It will lay out the rights and responsibilities of all the parties in question.  Now, if it has all the provisions it should have - like notification etc., - you can bring an action for breach of the contractual agreement.  If the agreement was oral, then you may have a problem under the Statute of Frauds, which is a law that varies from state to state but basically says that certain agreements must be in writing to be valid.  The purchase of real property is always covered there.  In some states a lease agreement over a year must also be in writing.  Ask the attorney.  Good luck.


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