Can we get a refund of our first and last months rent, if our landlord did not represent himself honestly?

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Can we get a refund of our first and last months rent, if our landlord did not represent himself honestly?

On the 16th of last month we signed a lease on a small house/lawyer’s office to be converted into a small cafe. On the 5th of this month we were informed that the building was in foreclosure and there was to be a trustee sale at 10:00 am the next morning. After doing research we learned the first listing for the foreclosure was before we signed the lease. We would like to know if we can legally get out of the lease and if there is any way we could be refunded the first months rent we paid along with the deposit?

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You may have grounds to rescind the lease--that is to void it, and get back any sums or amounts you've paid. The reason is, failure to disclose foreclosure or a pending foreclosure when it is known could constitute a misrepresenation, or alternately, a knowing omission, of a material fact which the landlord is obligated to disclose. Such misrepresentations or knowing omissions may be fraud, and fraud in the inducement to a contract provides grounds for rescision. If your landlord will not return these amounts and let you out of the lease, you should speak with an attorney--you may have a valid cause of action. Depending on the exact circumstances, you may be able to seek additional damages or compensation as well.


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