Roles have changed in the contract by mistake lessor and lessee. Can it mean the contract is invalid?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Roles have changed in the contract by mistake lessor and lessee. Can it mean the contract is invalid?

We have signed a one year lease for a
business as private individuals with
another private individual. His
attorney changed our roles in the
contract by mistake. Rest of the
contract refers us only as lessor and
lessee. So technically he should pay us
the monthly rent. On the last page as
signature he has it right.
We would like to get out of the
contract because there was a lot
promised and nothing delivered. Can it
mean the contract is invalid?

Asked on September 22, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A typo, even transposing the names of the parties, does not invalidate a contract as long as it is still clear who is who and who owes or does what: the courts ignore harmless errors and typos in enforcing contracts, so long as the intention of the contract, its terms, and the identity of the parties is still clear. So the issue you describe will not invalidate this contract. 
If there is a material or important breach--something significant called for in the contract, which the other party was suppposed to do or provide or pay but did not--that important breach may let you terminate the contract: a material breach by party A allows party B to treat the contract as terminated at its option. But it has to be an important violation or breach. 

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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