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Several months ago I signed a contract to lease an apartment in Utah, USA and took up residence in the said apartment. The contract was stated explicitly to run through August 25th. This is clearly and unambiguously stated in writing.

I signed this contract and so did the landlords.

However, now the landlord is telling me that this was a typo and that it should have said August 14th. I was notified of this on August 6. They are threatening to fine me or send collections after me if I do not vacate the apartment by noon on the 14th of August.

The only problem is that I have employment in this city until August 19th. I would need to live in my car for five days if they kick me out.

I am not overly concerned about them coming after me, as I do not believe that the case law backs them up here. However, I felt it best to get the legal opinion of the Internet on the matter.

Do I have a firm case to stand on if they were to pursue legal or financial action against me?

Are there specific cases or statutory considerations that you are aware of that provide legal precedent in this type of case?

  • You should consult a lawyer. – cpast Aug 7 '15 at 1:16
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    Please don't seek legal advice from strangers on the internet. At best, you should treat any answers you receive here the same way you would what you might hear from a bunch of drunk football fans at a sports bar on a fall Sunday. If you need specific legal help, consult a real lawyer. – Mowzer Aug 7 '15 at 4:08
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    Obviously I am not seeking official legal counsel here. I am more just interested in opinions on the case. And besides, isn't "seek[ing] legal advice from strangers on the Internet" pretty much the whole point of this site? – Vladhagen Aug 7 '15 at 4:36
  • It is not. It is preferred that the questions are hypothetical or theoretic, mostly because of the problems associated with giving legal advice. Also you should know that a vast majority of users of this site has no legal training. – Petr Hudeček Aug 7 '15 at 7:18
  • Here are the topics you can ask about on the forum. – Pat W. Aug 7 '15 at 12:40
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I will not speak to your specific situation. I am unfamiliar with the jurisdiction and real estate contracts are one of the most highly regulated contracts so local statutes may override common law.

In general, the terms of a contract are what the parties agree; the written document is not the contract - it is evidence of the contract.

In a case where the parties agree that the written version is wrong then the written version is wrong. Where the parties disagree that the written version is wrong (or agree that it is wrong but disagree as to how) then each will need to provide evidence to support their position. A signed written contract that supports one parties position is extremely strong evidence! The other party would need to provide some overwhelming evidence to trump this.

The general position that the courts take is that the written contract accurately documents the agreement unless someone can prove that it doesn't.

  • Okay, yes. That is the line I was thinking on. I would categorize this under "unilateral mistake." – Vladhagen Aug 7 '15 at 4:37

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