Water was included in the rental advertisement and rental contract but not the lease. I am now responsible for the water bill and had to pay a 200 deposit. Is this considered breech of contract or fraud?

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Water was included in the rental advertisement and rental contract but not the lease. I am now responsible for the water bill and had to pay a 200 deposit. Is this considered breech of contract or fraud?

I recently relocated to a 2 Bd/1 bath condo and the rental advertisement, realtor and rental agreement stated that water was included and I found out after the fact that water was not included on the lease after I moved in. Is this considered breech of contract or fraud?

Asked on August 12, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what the lease says about this charge: if the lease makes clear that you are responsible for the water charge (water not included), then you will be held to what the lease says: when you sign a contract (such as a lease), the law presumes you read, understood, and agreed to it, so if the lease stated that you are responsible for water, the law will presume that you are.
If the lease is "silent" on the subject--doesn't indicate it one way or the other--then what was in the advertissements and other documents will control, since you reasonably relied on these representations that water was included; if they don't include the water after advertising it, they will have committed fraud. (The reason these materials don't control if the lease excludes water is that the exclusion of water in the lease makes the reliance on the ad, etc. unreasonable--it is not reasonable to not instead rely on what is in the lease you are signing--and when reliance is unreasonable, you are not entitled to rely on it and there is no fraud.)


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