Can you break a lease and get your deposit back if the landlord didn’t tell you the apartment was in a flood zone until after you paid it?

UPDATED: Dec 3, 2011

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Can you break a lease and get your deposit back if the landlord didn’t tell you the apartment was in a flood zone until after you paid it?

My landlord neglected to tell me that my apartment was in a flood zone and had a serious history of flooding, until after I paid the deposit, was all packed up and ready to move in and was there to sign the lease – it was right before I signed that she said “oh and I’m legally obligated to tell you this apartment has a flood history and may flood again- here’s the flood insurance info- sign the lease here” I would’ve never said yes to it had I known this when I first saw this apartment. Now I want out of the lease, the flooding concerns me and I want out and I want my deposit back.

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of every state, a seller of real property or a landlord is required to disclose to all potential buyers or potential tenants all material facts that would impact a person to pay a price to buy property or rent or affects the desirability of a property or rental.

In your situation it was clear from what the landlord told you right after you signed your lease that the rental was in a flood zone and that the rental has flooded before. The flooding issue concerning the rental is a material fact that should have been disclosed to you way before you signed the lease agreement by the landlord.

Given what you have written, it seems that you have the right to rescind your rental agreement with your landlord due to the failure of her to disclose the flood issue before you signed the lease that she obviously knew about.

I would write her a letter stating you are rescinding your lease and the reasons for such. Keep a copy of the letter for future need. If she refuses to cancel your lease, I would consult with a landlord tenant attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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