What are my rights regarding a wedding venue and a non-refundable deposit, if the venue is not in the condition promised?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights regarding a wedding venue and a non-refundable deposit, if the venue is not in the condition promised?

I signed a contract with a venue (a barn) and also had a verbal agreement with the owner that the venue would be totally cleaned prior to any wedding day. While my wedding hasn’t happened yet, I did visit the venue on another bride’s wedding day and the place was filthy dirty, not what was promised. I feel I am entitled to my deposit back because she broke the agreement and I can’t trust that it would be cleaned for my wedding since it wasn’t for this other brides. Do I have any leg to stand on or do I just have to hope that she’ll give me my money back if I ask?

Asked on November 19, 2015 under Business Law, North Carolina


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, at this time you wouldn't be able to sue the barn and the owner for breach of contract because your wedding has not occurred.  If at the time of your wedding, the place is filthy, then you would have a case for breach of contract against the barn and owner.  I realize that you want to have the wedding at a clean facility, but legally there isn't any breach of contract until the day of your wedding if the barn isn't clean.
You can seek a refund in your lawsuit for breach of contract.
Although as you suggested, you can ask for a refund now, but it is unlikely you will receive it now because the wedding hasn't occurred and the place might be clean on the date of your wedding.  In addition, the venue will claim that the deposit is non-refundable.

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