What is my recourse regarding the recession of a promise to allow an early termination of my lease?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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What is my recourse regarding the recession of a promise to allow an early termination of my lease?

I have rented the same townhouse for 2 years; I just signed a renewal lease for the 3rd year. I received a letter from my rental property manager stating that if I was planning on purchasing a home during my tenure, I was free to break my lease penalty free as long as I was working with one of their realtors. I went home shopping and found a house, made an offer and had the offer accepted, all while using one of their real estate agents. I notified my rental property manager that I was planning to vacate and gave them 41 days notice because I went into contract with house purchase. Now the rental property manager is threatening me saying that I will lose my deposit and that I have to pay 2 months worth of rent as a penalty fee. I told them about the letter I received from them that I would be penalty free if I used one of their realtors to purchase a home. They are rescinding their offer because they say that letter was mailed to me by mistake and they never intended to honor such an offer. What can I do so as not lose my $1600 deposit, plus 2 months rent?

Asked on September 23, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They may now feel it was sent to you in error or have rethough it, but they can't rescind an agreement after you accepted it. They made you an offer: break the lease if you worked with their realtors. You accepted it and fulfilled your obligations under it. There is "consideration" or something of value on both sides: you avoid a penalty, they get a realtor commission. Offer, acceptance and consideration form a contract; and once one side performs under a contract, the other side is obligated to fulfill its obligations, too. Therefore, they may now wish that they did not, but the actually entered into a contract with you and you can enforce that contract in court (i.e. sue them) if they will not comply.

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