Anyone here familiar with contract law?

idontknow
idontknow

I just got an apartment which had a "$1000 off the first month" promotion.

I signed the lease agreement + an addendum stating that I will receive $1000 off October's rent. It was countersigned by a representative of the company that owns the apartment complex. This was done on the National Apartment Association's e-signing site.

The company sent me an "urgent" email today stating that the $1000 off promotion doesn't actually apply to the apartment type I chose. The signed/countersigned lease agreement states that any changes to the contract have to be done in writing + they can kick me out after 30 days' notice.

Is there anything they can do here aside from kick me out after 30 days? That is an acceptable outcome as I can simply move into the building next door and still come out way ahead. If they refuse to credit me the $1000, it seems like it would be the easiest small claims case ever. My move in date is Friday, but I expect them to try to fuck with me if I don't sign another addendum which nullifies the $1000 off agreement.

All urls found in this thread:
http://www.fairfieldresidential.com/
https://archive.is/
Techpill
Techpill

@idontknow
here's my experience-

if they're going to go to court they're going to go whole-hog.

they're going to sue you for legal costs, for lost income, for damage to their name, for breaking shit you didn't break but they'll say you did anyways....

they'll sue you for everything they can think of and hope some of it sticks. And it probably will unless you have some deep pockets to hire lawyers and a lot of time to spend in court in another state.

that said, fuck them for trying to renegotiate a deal they offered in the first place. That's some shady shit and someone needs to drag them into court over it and if possible get a newspaper to write an article or two about their company. Because fuck that.

New_Cliche
New_Cliche

@Techpill
What could they sue me for, though? I am the victim in this scenario.

they're going to sue you for legal costs, for lost income, for damage to their name, for breaking shit you didn't break but they'll say you did anyways....
I haven't caused them any undue lost income (they signed a contract promising a discount), I haven't publicly or privately disparaged them, etc.

As for breaking stuff, I can record video evidence of the apartment being in full functional order, all appliances, faucets, etc. working properly, and then me walking down to the leasing office and dropping off the keys.

Two of their employees made mistakes: the leasing agent promised something that wasn't supposed to exist and drafted paperwork to that effect + a different representative countersigned all the lease paperwork/addenda.

Fried_Sushi
Fried_Sushi

@New_Cliche
Well is it really worth suing? Your lawyer is going to make the bulk of the money here. I'd sue for principal but I'm thinking you'd only be awarded 1000-2000.

Booteefool
Booteefool

@Fried_Sushi
Small claims doesn't need a lawyer and is for civil suits exactly the kind of scenario I'm in now.

I would just file a claim myself, say "this contract was not fulfilled, your honor", present evidence (signed/countersigned contract, receipts for rent paid, history of bank account debits/credits, etc.), and request a judgment in my favor in the amount of $1,000 + any money/time lost in the act of chasing down what was promised to me in the contract.

If they don't bother showing up, I win. If they show up, I still win because they literally did not fulfill part of a contract.

I have a ton of free time and make a lot of money (engineer at a tech company in NorCal), but I'm also pressed for time. I have to be out of my place at the end of the week, and these guys are fucking with me. If they give me the option to void the contract, I'll have to take a day out of work (big opportunity cost) to find a new place. I'm debating whether or not to actually press them on this or just request we cancel the entire contract and go our separate ways.

Boy_vs_Girl
Boy_vs_Girl

@idontknow

Is there a local government agency that enforces rental agreements? In the city where I live, they have to approve all changes that take place while a lease is in effect.

Spamalot
Spamalot

@Booteefool
Personally since you're not losing anything AND you're not strapped for cash, I'd just cut my losses. Once we for sure are done, I'd post bad reviews EVERYWHERE.

VisualMaster
VisualMaster

Landlord here.
Not your landlord, not your lawyer, blah blah blah.

Your lease controls. It cannot be altered without consent from both parties. If they fucked up, they get to eat the cost. Without knowing where you are specifically, there isn't any specific info to give you, but most areas in US/Canada have tenant advocacy groups. Most locations have REALLY fucking nasty laws about modifying tenant prices while in a lease. If they try to pull anything funny they could get fucked really hard in court. Even in landlord friendly states, judges will give tenants enormous benefits of doubt.

For starters, I would notify them, in writing (both email, and certified mail with return receipt) that you will be paying your rent on time as stipulated in the terms of your lease and within the bounds of applicable law (don't be specific, let them shit themselves over it). State that you reject any modifications to the lease without your written consent. State that they any further contact or attempt to evict concerning their failure to uphold their end of the contract will be considered harassment, and/or an act of retaliation.

You have to consider that they probably won't renew if they can legally avoid it, and will be on your ass in the mean time. To that end, I would also add that you consent to a termination of the lease if they consent in writing to an unconditional return of your complete security deposit, any extra rent being returned at a prorated based on the number of days in the month (or however you pay, biweekly, trimester, etc), as well as having them unconditionally pay for your moving costs to have a professional moving company move all of your stuff to a new apartment.

BinaryMan
BinaryMan

@VisualMaster
Keep passport, small valuables, etc in a safe deposit box in the mean time, just in case they are actually fucking retarded enough to illegally evict you. Keep the original copy of your lease in that box, and have half a dozen copies of it on hand. Keep a few copies in your car, keep one in your wallet, etc.

Itemize all of your belongings. Take pictures. If they do change the locks, touch your stuff, or anything of the sort, yeah, your life is going to suck for a bit, but you will have them by the balls. And I'm not talking just a good old squeeze either, let alone a gentle fondling. Illegal evictions are suspending them from the golden gate bridge by their scrotum with a rusty nail on the tier list of fucked. With a copy of your lease, you can call the police and a locksmith to legally break into your apartment. Cops probably won't get involved because it's a civil mater, but you can insist on a report being filed. Push for that report number, and if the cop blows you off, go in in person and file a report. Might be able to tell the locksmith to bill them.

If they under any circumstances touch your stuff, or do anything of the above, contact an eviction attorney, or whatever your local equivalent is. Contact your state bar for a referral. Alternatively, you may simply be provided one if your area has a strong tenant advocacy group. In either case, if you've properly documented things, you'll get to see something special. The vacant glass eyed stare of a lawyer who has caught the scent of fresh blood on the wind.

If they fuck up badly enough, you might have an argument for promissory estoppel, or fraud charges. Your lawyer should know how to pursue those avenues.

TL;DR If it's in the lease, they can get fucked. Not your problem if they are incompetent.

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

@Booteefool
NorCal

Oh boy. Cali has some of the nastiest statewide tenant protections in the nation. Oddly lacking on a few specific points, but yeah, they have no grounds to do anything. You also have strong tenant advocacy groups.

Stupidasole
Stupidasole

That's pretty fucking shady. $1k over a lease that's worth (I'm guessing) $20+k is not a whole lot. Someone either lied to you or lied to his boss, or both. If this is the kind of shit they pull before you even move in, I would take my business elsewhere.

I think contract law and CA tenant law are on your side, and most municipalities in the Bay Area have even more tenant protections than usual. Do your research and don't let them intimidate you.

Stark_Naked
Stark_Naked

@Stupidasole
Shady

Seriously... If this is a larger company, and it sounds like it is, Cali has groups that specifically go after landlords doing shit like this. Bay area is even more insane, but all of the west coast has brutal groups specifically organized to protect tenants. Maybe it's a one off mistake because some new employee was incompetent. Sensible company would have eaten the cost and told the employee if it happened again they were fired, and made them sign an agreement to that fact. But everyone's gotta be a cheap fuck and try to pass the buck.

If it's systemic, they are hoping people are ignorant enough to just roll over, or they will roll over at the first sign of resistance and rely on general apathy and ignorance to prevent people from reporting it. One vindictive tenant could easily cost them half a million in legal fees and fines if the landlord plays his cards wrong. Cali is fucking nuts.

OP, see if you can't find any listings for the offer on a website or anything of that sort. Archive it using waybackmachine, or with pictures. If they are listing stuff, and contractually agreeing to it, then pulling the lolnopeitsanerror card, that's crossing into fraud territory.

Raving_Cute
Raving_Cute

@VisualMaster
@BinaryMan
@GoogleCat
OP here (on mobile)

Thanks for spending the time to write these posts. Truly appreciated.

@Stupidasole
$2350/mo so $28,200 total for a year.

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

OP, back on my computer... can't sleep

@Stark_Naked
This is the company: http://www.fairfieldresidential.com/

I guess I'll need to decide today if it's worth fighting about $1,000 or just finding another place.

Every apartment complex around here (San Jose) offers "$xyz off your first month's rent!" or "first month free!". My theory is that this is because rent control is limited to 10% per year and keeping the real rent above the effective rent allows them to more easily adapt to a sudden surge in demand.

Harmless_Venom
Harmless_Venom

@Raving_Cute
Google tenant advocacy groups for your area, and give them a call. They'll probably have more general advice for what to do for your specific local laws than I can provide. Double and triple check your lease, and verify what parts of it are and aren't legally enforceable.

Just be aware. It's Cali. You have the contract. Push comes to shove, go nuclear on their ass. You WILL win if you have even halfway decent documentation for your case. If they so much as utter a peep, or lift a finger against you, it just digs their grave faster.

Sir_Gallonhead
Sir_Gallonhead

@Crazy_Nice
Get screenshots of the offer. https://archive.is/ their page.

You're talking about rent controlled areas? Even better. Protections in rent controlled areas are beyond fucking insane. Like, you could probably stop paying rent entirely and not get evicted insane. Don't try it, but there's literally nothing they can even hope to do given the information you've provided.

BunnyJinx
BunnyJinx

Any updates OP?

King_Martha
King_Martha

@BunnyJinx
I found a better place today on Padmapper and was able to wriggle out of the lease. The new place has $100 off every month for the full lease (12 months), and it's $80 less to start with.

It's a much nicer place, too... no shared walls with neighbors, top floor of a condo-style apartment.

Thanks again for the advice. If I see anyone else asking about rental situations like this, I'll definitely link them to your posts in the archive.

WebTool
WebTool

@King_Martha
Good for you man.

eGremlin
eGremlin

@idontknow
lol i literally have my contract law exam this 20th of october.
do you still need help?

Nojokur
Nojokur

@eGremlin
see
@King_Martha

I ended up being able to get out of the lease entirely and found a better/less expensive spot in a nicer/safer area.

Thanks, though.

Stark_Naked
Stark_Naked

@idontknow
assuming you are in one of most US states...

just proceed as you expected to.
it will be on them to say you failed to pay 1k rent.
then you can let them take it to court and you can present your evidence, and countersue for defamation of character, moving costs if you have to leave, lost wages for being in court on a work day, etc... you win $5k-ish

PurpleCharger
PurpleCharger

I know basic contract law and they are fucked. Any legal advice they get will simply be they are legally bound to give you $1000 off as agreed.

As user said above, respond in writing and threaten legal action if they breach the terms of the contract. You are in a position of power - if it goes to court you could potentially get $1000 plus damages. They have 0% chance of victory.

If they apologise and concede then they probably won't fuck with you again. If they are awkward about it then you don't want to be doing business with those shysters anyway, they will find reasons to keep your deposit when you move out.

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

@Raving_Cute
2350 a month for rent, holy shit.

I'm paying 1350 for one of the nicest apts in Virginia Beach

Where are you?

Sir_Gallonhead
Sir_Gallonhead

@idontknow
As for contract law, anything attached to the contract is part of the contract. If they would of evicted you it would have been an unlawful eviction. You could probably still sue them for breach of contract or constructive eviction and recover any moving expenses.

takes2long
takes2long

@Crazy_Nice
That's not expensive at all in cali.

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