What to do if aproperty owner sets new “restrictions” 5 months after a wedding venue contract has been signed and a deposit sent?

UPDATED: Feb 23, 2012

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What to do if aproperty owner sets new “restrictions” 5 months after a wedding venue contract has been signed and a deposit sent?

My fiancee and I have spent weeks and weeks finding the right venue. Did our due diligence, negotiated terms, signed contract and sent half deposit. Now, 5 months later, the property owner is introducing restrictions that were never discussed nor covered in the rental agreement (disallowing the use of tent stakes, requiring approval of all vendors before hiring). Everything is documented in email conversation and the contract. We have spent months coordinating vendors for this place and even took the expense of flying to the location to scout vendors. They won’t budge, what recourse do I have?

Asked on February 23, 2012 under Business Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If necessary, you could sue them to enforce the contract. Once a contract is agreed to and signed by the parties, it is enforceable against them; neither party may change the terms of the contract, including by adding restrictions or limitions which were not in it when it was agreed to. You could either sue for "specific performance"--to force the property owner to obey the contract as negotiated--or to terminate the contract, recover any deposit, and possibly recover additional compensation (such as if it is more expensive to find an alternate venue) as well.

It's not that the restrictions you describe are inherently illegal--it's just that if the property owner wanted them, they needed to be something discussed at the outset, incorporated into the contract, and agreed to by you.

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