Is material misrepresntation grounds to break a lease?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is material misrepresntation grounds to break a lease?

I was living in DC and needed to rent an apartment in Cambridge, MA. I was unable to travel up to Boston to see apartments, so I relied on pictures and information from the building management companies. I signed a lease for an apartment, but when I arrived I found out the building management materially lied about aspects of the apartment

1. I asked via email the size of the apartment. The agent replied it was ‘approximately 700 square feet.’ In reality the apartment is 578 square feet – 20 less than she said. This is in email writing.

2. I was sent pictures of ‘the apartment,’ which had tan drywall walls in email. When I got there, it turns out all of my walls are cinder block The pictures she sent were of a different, unrepresentative apartment. Now I am worried about cold Boston winters and cannot hang any of my pictures I brought with me.

What kind of recourse do I have in this situation in the state of MA? Can I break my lease or get a rent concession?

Asked on July 6, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Fraud--or lying about a material (important) fact or facts, to get you to enter into the transaction, and on which representation(s) you reasonably relied--is grounds to void a lease; that is, to get out of the lease. The conditions you describe appear to be fraud, so you would appear to have reasonable grounds to void this lease and get out of it. The matter could be settled between you and the landlord by some rent compensation or other compensation, if the two of you agreed to that.

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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