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We entered into a 2 year lease agreement in July 2016. I have since discovered that the end date is wrong in our lease. It should have been June 2018, not August 2018. My landlord is being is not being respective to there was a mistake. But I do have a recent email from the landlord stating that the lease was for 2 years. Any suggestions on steps I can take in North Carolina.

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    What document are you looking at? – JeffUK May 15 '18 at 14:51
  • What exactly did the landlord say in the e-mail message? – phoog May 15 '18 at 14:53
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The terms of a contract that has been reduced to writing are definitive. If it says August then August is what you contractually agreed irrespective of prior communication or discussion. The law presumes that parties will adopt many positions during negotiations, however, when they come to actually writing down what they agreed, that written record is definitive.

There are exceptions where the mistake is obvious and makes the agreement absurd. In such circumstances if one party refuses a correction a court might order it. However, a date that is wrong by a month doesn’t qualify. Even one that is wrong by years might not - there are leases that run for decades and a court would need to be satisfies that this isn’t one of those.

Unless both parties agree that it is a drafting mistake it is not subject to correction. Of course, both parties can agree to vary the contract notwithstanding if they agree it was a mistake.

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  • If a landlord accidentally added a century (writing that a lease ends in 2118), and the renter plain missed the point while signing, I think you would answer this differently, right? – bobuhito May 20 '18 at 0:53
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Meet with him to explain the mistake more clearly. Assuming he agrees that it was a clerical error, just cross out the old date, write the correct date, and sign and date (by both parties) this correction on all copies.

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  • "assuming he agrees that it was a clerical error": I suspect that the landlord "not being respective to there was a mistake" means that the landlord refuses to recognize that it was a clerical error. – phoog May 15 '18 at 15:15
  • I saw that phrase and took it to mean that the tenant was not 100% sure, so since nobody wins much going to court, I'd still meet with him to try to understand his view...hopefully, he's reasonable. – bobuhito May 15 '18 at 15:33
  • Fair enough. I've had a couple of reasonable landlords in my life, so I know that they do exist. I don't suppose that most reasonable landlords have many tenants asking for help on the internet, however. – phoog May 15 '18 at 15:45

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