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Landlord misrepresented property

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  • Law200
    Re: Landlord misrepresented property

    It seems you have good case to break the lease or seek damages etc.--It is permitted to break the lease (or sue for the decreased lease value in small claims) if they have failed to comply with the lease and/or there are health, noise or safety concerns, or they misrepresented the situation to you--but save all information, evidence etc. for small claims court.

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  • Unregistered
    Guest started a topic Landlord misrepresented property

    Landlord misrepresented property

    I'm in a real mess with my's the's kinda lengthy:

    1) The house I rented had a driveway and a yard enclosed by a fence (including the driveway). At the end of the driveway is a gate leading into the rear-facing neighbor's back yard. The driveway connects to a drive in the neighbor's back yard, which continues to the other side of the block and out the neighbor's front driveway.

    2) When I first viewed the property with the landlord, the landlord said the driveway is "shared", and that the neighbors occassionally use the drive to access their backyard. To complicate things, the neighbors in the back are my landlord's kids. During the viewing, my landlord said the property would be private, and that we were to maintain the driveway. I agreed. The gate was open, and my landlord's daughter (the neighbor) was outside. My landlord closed the gate, and told her daughter to keep it closed. The landlord specifically asked her daughter, "Why is this open?" My landlord gave me every impression that the gate would remain closed unless the neighbor had some special task they needed to use it for. I was presented a safe and private backyard. I remind you, the neighbor has a front driveway that cuts through their backyard, goes through the gate, passed the home I rented, and out the other side of the block (they have a large lot of land).

    3) Upon signing the lease, the landlord pointed to a rule that the driveway is not to be obstructed. I took that to mean, don't store things on it, and keep it clean and clear.

    4) My family and I moved in, and I parked my car at the end of the driveway facing the closed gate. When the neighbors asked me to move my car so they could get to their back yard, I complied immediately, and put my car back after they were done with their work. They asked me to move my car a total of maybe 4 times over the first 1.5 months. They were friendly with us, and we were given no indication we were in violation of the lease.

    5) 1.5 months into the lease, the neighbors suddenly begin telling me to move my car or they will call the police and have it towed. They said the entire driveway was their property, and that we're not to park at the end of it. They became very rude and intimidating. I called my landlord to try to sort the situation out, and she was very unresponsive. I finally talked to her, and she said we can't obstruct the driveway, and we need to park my car elsewhere. She was obviously upset with us, probably because it's her daughter that is also our neighbor. We had been given no indication of wrongdoing prior to this...

    6) My wife and I start taking notes of every conversation, and we send a letter to my landlord explaining our position.

    7) I get the dimensions of the property, and it appears the neighbors are right, and that my landlord doesn't own the driveway (there's a garage in the back).

    8) The neighbors start harassing us, walking down the driveway and looking into our house. Looking into our back windows from their back windows. They even took the gate off the hinges. They were using the driveway as sort of an alley, passing through 4x per day, and driving quickly. We asked them to leave the gate on to help keep speeds reasonable. We have 2 kids and a dog, and moved to the property to have a safe backyard for them. The neighbors refused, and more rude behaviour persisted.

    9) I called the police to let them know there was a problem. The police could do nothing, but talked to the landlord and neighbors. The landlord told the police officer she would prefer us to just leave. The neighbors stopped the excessive harassing behaviour, but still kept using the drive, and kept tensions tight.

    10) I talked to my landlord again, and on two separate occassions, she said we were welcome to leave. She even told us to write her a letter for ending the lease. We did so, and heard nothing back from her. She would only take correspondence through writing, and she would not sign our lease-ending agreement.

    11) After a couple weeks hearing nothing. We decided to move out rather than feel unsafe in our home and yard. We realized that moving out without getting the landlord's signature would leave us open, but due to our financial hardships, we needed to move out during the Thanksgiving holiday so I wouldn't need to take time off work.

    12) We felt trapped between the landlord not communicating with us, and the neighbor(daughter and son-in-law) making us feel uncomfortable in our home. We also felt the landlord had violated the Truth-in Renting act by misrepresenting the property prior to signing the lease, not letting us know we were violating the lease...and possibly renting us property for us to maintain (the driveway) that the landlord doesn't actually own. We would like to recover our costs for moving in and out within 2 months, and get part of our security deposit back (she withheld it for rent due to us moving out). We recently went bankrupt, and were trying to start fresh...we don't have money for a lawyer, and really couldn't afford to move twice in 2 months. The price was great, we just feel trapped.

    Do I have a small claims case? What if the landlord wants to move it up to District court and get an attorney. Any information or recommendations to this situation would be greatly appreciated.

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