False advertising but no way to prove it - Apartment lease

Diana818July 12, 2011

I just leased an apartment and it was advertised with a parking space. Also when I went to look at it, the daughter of the manager told me that the place comes with a parking space. When I went to sign the lease, the manager told me that the unit does not have a parking space. I emphasized that I cannot sign the lease without a parking space because i have a car and she told me that she'll contact the owners and for the mean time I can have her space. Now she's telling me that it does not have a parking space. Can I get all my money back and get out without any penalty? I moved in 2 days ago. Unfortunately she already took down the ad so I don't have evidence anymore. It was on craig's list. My friends tell me that I can't do anything because I signed the lease already. Is that true? I only signed it because she made it sound like she understood my position and she'll take care of it. any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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handyaman, that was helpful.

Diana: This is kind of a double edged sword without something in print or writing. Unfortunately once you sign a contract you're bound to the terms. But don't let it go. Particularly if they advertised. They can't legally offer amenities that aren't there. (And don't indicate to anyone you know you're bound to what you signed, otherwise they'll ignore it). You have nothing, no printout, email, nothing in print indicating you'd be given parking? If it's not in your lease, and you have no advertisement or communication or anything in writing mentioning parking available, you're likely on the hook for now. (For future reference, if it's something offered and you need it, ask that it be put in writing if it's not, and have that in hand at least by day of but before signing the lease.)

If you move and break your lease, you've probably lost your Deposit.

While it's fresh in your mind, write it all down, what was said & by whom, what was in the ad, etc. Use approximate dates and times (such as "evening" if you don't have exact time). Present it to management as if you were keeping notes all along. Check your state landlord tenant laws (e.g. google "Arizona Landlord Tenant Laws"). Or go to your State's web site and look for a consumer affairs or housing division. Those are usually the people you can file a complaint with, short of consulting an attorney.

One more thing, do they advertise a lot? Watch CL, see if they do it again with the parking mentioned.

I don't know if you can contact CL and ask for a copy or not? That might be something that requires a subpoena.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 12:24PM
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My browser turned that handyman link to red for DANGER!

Back on topic: You'll have to ask the landlord for your money back and lease break. If they won't do it and you begin court proceedings, you'll be asked if you signed a lease with doubt about a guaranteed parking space. The burden of proof is on you and that contract may supersede any verbal agreement. However, you can call the several people who said you'd get one to testify on your behalf. Don't assume they'll perjure themselves.

If they were knowingly luring perspective tenants with false claims, it's highly likely they're not that bright, That's most often the case. The removed CL ad can be pulled by the proper authority or might be cached somewhere online if it's recent enough. Just like Facebook, Twiter or GW, users photos and text can be used as evidence. Nothing online is ever truly gone or private.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 12:46PM
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This is a life lesson. Never, Ever take what someone said as fact, get it in writing.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 6:06PM
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If you can remember anything from the ad, Google usually keeps cached Craigslist ads even after they are taken down. Maybe try doing a search for it and see what you come up with. You'll have the best luck if you can remember a sentence or phrase from the ad.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 10:18PM
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