Leased out a home for 2 years to a business. With 6 mos left they no longer needed the home and told us if we didn't lower rent amount to new "market value" they would break contract. We lowered the rent for remaining 6 months for fear of not receiving anything at all and sent signed agreement via email to our contact at the business. They never signed and sent back the amendment but started paying lesser amount. The person that I amended terms with no longer works at company. Now with 2 months left, they said they no longer need housing and are terminating lease and not paying anymore. I want to take to small claims court for last two months. Can I hold them to the original terms and amount since they never signed the amendment? Or, can I only sue for the amended amount on the remaining 2 months?
I think you have a strong claim for the remaining two months. You can ask for the original amount but based on what you have posted I do not think your claim is very strong. Your best argument would be that the reduction was contingent on the renter paying the rent for the full term.
The information that I am providing is general information based on my understanding of your question. You cannot and should not rely on this general advice in making legal decisions. There may be important information that you did not include in your question that could drastically change the advice an attorney that was fully informed would give you. I am not your attorney. My response does not create an attorney client relationship.
You will likely be unsuccessful in suing for the original rent since you agreed to lower the rent and you allowed them to start paying the lesser amount. Your conduct was consistent with an oral modification to the original contract. You may be able to recover the lowered rent amount for the remaining 2 months in small claims court.
I agree that you have a good case for the remaining two months. As to the amount of the rent for those two months, I'd say you need to go with the amended amount. Also, if your lease calls from the prevailing party to recover attorney's fees, remember that you can't recover those without hiring an attorney. If the lease has that clause in it, then you might consider skipping Small Claims and going straight to "big boy" Court with an attorney.
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