What if the landlord misrepresents the condition of the unit?

The tenant takes the unit "as is" in its present condition. The rule of caveat emptor or "buyer beware" prevails in the landlord-tenant situation. Unless there is an agreement otherwise or the landlord makes a fraudulent misrepresentation, the tenant takes the unit as found with all known existing defects and those defects that can be determined by a reasonable inspection. It is the tenant's responsibility to examine the unit to determine its safety and condition before moving in.

Representations about the unit's general condition made by the landlord during negotiations for a lease, such as "The unit is spotless" or "The unit is in fabulous shape," are generally considered to be "dealer talk," "puffing" or mere expressions of opinion. If these opinions are not put in writing as the landlord's warranty or guarantee, the tenant will have little recourse if the statements prove to be untrue. However, if the landlord does indeed fraudulently misrepresent the habitability or condition of the unit, intending that the tenant rely on these statements, and the tenant does reasonably rely, the tenant may elect either to vacate the unit and rescind the lease or to remain in possession and sue the landlord for damages for the fraud. Fraud is a difficult matter to prove. A tenant should always seek legal assistance before moving out of a unit and breaking a lease.

Show All Answers

1. What steps should the landlord and tenant take when moving in?
2. What if the landlord misrepresents the condition of the unit?
3. What about hidden defects?