Is a verbal contract agreed by both parties enforceable to terminate a lease early, even when one party changes their mind?

UPDATED: Dec 9, 2011

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Is a verbal contract agreed by both parties enforceable to terminate a lease early, even when one party changes their mind?

My landlord verbally agreed to let me out of my lease. They did not properly disclose lead hazards in the house and my wife is pregnant. One of the documents provided at the signing of the lease stated that no lead hazards were present, however they acknowledged several hazards after we moved in. We agreed that I would move at the end of the month, pay no more rent beyond that date, and receive a refund of my deposit minus any damages. I documented this in a letter I signed and delivered to them. They responded with a letter that changes our agreement, claiming I have to honor the lease.

Asked on December 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Rhode Island


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you entered into the lease of the rental that you have where certain known material problems with it such as the presence of lead were not disclosed to you beforehand and the landlord knew of these problems, then there is the possibility for you to cancel the lease (rescind it) if the items not disclosed were material components for one to enter into the lease.

The landlord is obligated to disclose to you all known to him or her that is material that would impact a willing tenant to enter into the lease.

I would write your landlord a letter memorializing the failure to disclose known material conditions regarding the unit before you entered into the lease and the agreement to end it. I would request that a copy of the letter sent be dated, signed and returned confirming that you can cancel the lease.

If the landlord refuses to sign the agreement cancelling the lease, you should consult with a landlord tenant attorney about your situation.

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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