Can a property manager change my original lease?

Asked about 1 year ago - Escondido, CA

On my lease that my boyfriend and I signed it says that rent is $995. We have been paying that amount since February of this year. Property manager says that they made a mistake and that rent is suppose to be $1145 and that they want us to sign the new lease with the proper amount and start paying that amount. We did sign a rental deposit receipt that showed the rent was $1145. But it states on the receipt "applicant also understands that the Rental Application submitted with this deposit is not to be construed as a Lease or Rental Agreement". Can they make us paying the new amount even though we never signed the new lease and still have the original lease on hand?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Douglas Whitney Weitzman

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is a unusual situation. On one hand you knew that the rent was supposed to be $1145. What did you negotiate? If you really thought that the rent was supposed to be $995, and both you and the landlord signed, then you may be ok. The problem here is that if you knew, it would be a mutual mistake and the landlord could ask you to sign a new lease and pay the "correct" rent of $1145. But if you honestly thought that the rent was going to be $995 and they made the mistake, that is a mistake of the landlord only and they could be held to it.

    The issue is if you truly knew.

    The difference is $150 a month. That is quite a bit of money. Do you want to risk a fight with them and problems later. Maybe you can negotiate somewhere in the middle. The case turns on what you knew. But if you thought $995, then you can stick to your guns and hopefully stay at that rent until the lease expires. But don't expect any favors and if they might have been inclined to give you a break in the future, it definitely won't be happening now.

    Good luck.

    This is general legal advice intended for informational purposes only and does not create and attorney/client... more
  2. Nicholas Basil Spirtos

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Generally speaking, the property manager cannot change the lease unless you all agree. They may also be held to the amount stated in the lease agreement.
    However, a court might allow the greater amount if that is what you knew you were supposed to pay and agreed to pay, on the grounds that there is a mutual mistake in the contract.
    I would try and work something out with the property management company. Maybe enter into a new lease with the correct amount, and their agreement to waive any amounts claimed from the earlier months.

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