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We put wrong name in portion of lease. Is it invalid? Breaking a Lease

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by ahastings, Jan 23, 2014.

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  1. ahastings

    ahastings Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We have a tenant that has not been paying and we just noticed two things with the lease. One, in one of the sections, we forgot to change the name from one of the previous tenants. And two, there was a typo in our company name. I know...these are mistakes we should have picked up on. The dates are correct, the rent amount is correct and the line where the tenant sign has his correct name and signature. So, is this a valid lease or because of our errors we do not have a leg to stand on?

    Thank you.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Okay, let's get this out of the way, OP.
    Although most landlords have a written lease, there is no requirement that there be anything in writing.
    If a tenant is paying THEIR rent once a month, then it is called a month to month tenancy and starts again each month.
    In fact, if the tenant has taken occupancy of the unit, they have consummated a month to month tenancy, as well.
    Notwithstanding the "mistakes" you purport to have made on the document.
    In my view, those mistakes are of some unintended value to you. OP, if this tenant has soured like milk.
    Either you or the tenant can end the tenancy by giving written notice at least 30 days before the next rent payment is due.
    As each month is a new tenancy, the landlord (YOU) must give the same 30 day notice if YOU want to raise the rent or make other changes.
    So, you could simply end the arrangement by giving the tenant 30 days notice to quit, if the alleged lease in invalid.
    In my opinion, that's the easiest way to address this, OP.

    Under Virginia law a tenant is considered a tenant at sufferance if they don't have a lease or pay rent.
    This means that you can bring an eviction action against them for any number of reasons at any time and no particular notice needs to be given to them. The person who is letting you live there also does not have to take you to court to evict you and can have you removed (or change the locks) at any time.
    But, as this situation started out with the INTENT to create a lease, I wouldn't try that.
    You have other, better options.

    First off, only a court can rule on the lease's validity.

    Second of all, did you or your agent sign the lease?

    At a minimum, I would say you have the potential for trouble, but you still have a lease, not a long term lease, but a statutorily controlled lease (as described above).

    Finally, is the tenant happy with your arrangement?

    Are you happy with your arrangement?

    I suggest you run this by a lawyer in your county.

    Whatever you do, discuss this situation with your attorney, or it could become very costly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
  3. ahastings

    ahastings Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you so much for your reply. Actually, I just learned that the tenant is now out. Do we have any right to the money he did not pay while he was still occupying the office even though he is now not currently occupying the space?
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Oh, this is a commercial lease?

    Do you really want to go there?

    Less is more, simplify your life, and be grateful the deadbeat has left YOUR building!

    He's broke, otherwise he'd have paid you.

    Or, he's worse, a deadbeat, and they never pay you, you just chase them.

    Be smart, if you owe him any money, return it.

    Life is too short, and you sound too blessed to behave like a weasel.
     
  5. ahastings

    ahastings Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Ok, thank you so much for your advice. Much appreciated! Have a nice weekend.
     

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