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legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9907
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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If the apartment complex keeps changing my apartment unit

Customer Question

If the apartment complex keeps changing my apartment unit and then I finally did. It sign the contract for the next newest unit since it too far ahead in the future.. I'd like refund for all fees I laid including non refundable fees since they broke the contract I signed and the units before weren't ready
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

So to be clear, the tenant had signed an agreement to rent the apartment, but the unit is not ready by the move in date?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I needed a 1st floor unit due to disability and a certain time frame. They kept changing the unit and kept saying sorry the previous unit is no longer ready at that time of move in. After the 3rd unit change, it was on second door and I didn't sign anything to move into that last unit. They had something available but id have to wait a month which I can't. So I said give me the refund then for all fees I paid which they said no. Feel like I was lied and tricked signing to move in but then they said sorry u can't anymore till much later. So I didn't sign the last unit change
Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

I am sorry to hear this;

first a lease is a contract, so if a party is in breach of their responsibility under the lease, the innocent party can sue for breach of contract.

The landlord (LL) is expected to have the unit ready at move in; if the tenant agreed to rent unit #1, then that is the unit that the LL would need to have prepared, as no 2 real estate properties are identical (ie location, view, etc). So the courts will not expect a tenant that agreed to rent unit #1 to be forced to rent unit #2 (unless the tenant voluntarily agrees - but the LL cannot compel the tenant to do so).

So basically if the LL is in breach, the tenant can sue for actual damages- ie. monetary damages reasonably foreseeable and proximately caused by the breach- this typically includes such things as application fees, down payments etc - the objective of the court is to make the non-breaching party whole, so that the non-breaching party need not suffer due to the other party's breach.

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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Yeah so they said application fee is non refundable. So if have to sue to get it back: in small claims court?
Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

Generally one can first write a demand letter, stating the basis for the claim (ie breach of contract) and requesting that $x be returned by ___ (date); if it is not returned, then the next step would be small claims.

Here is a sample complaint letter:

Expert:  legalgems replied 11 months ago.

Hi- just checking in to see if you needed clarification on any of the above information. If so please post here (there is no additional charge for this) and I will do my best to get you the requested information.

Thank you!