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I recently rented a unit sight-unseen (moving across country while working). The building had good reviews from previous tenants and the property manager provided photos of the unit.

Upon moving in, the photos I was provided are of an entirely different unit. The unit listed on the lease is missing appliances, shows water damage, and was built to be accessible (very low counters, low toilets, no rim on the shower pan, etc.).

I'm frustrated both with having been obviously misled about which unit I was renting and am in constant discomfort from having to work on lowered surfaces.

I've browsed local websites and other questions here for a discussion of being misled by a landlord, but can't find what an appropriate action might be.

Ideally, I would like to terminate the lease without penalty (and move to a different apartment). Is there a course of action that enables this?

  • A lot of this may hinge on the exact language of the listing and the lease. Did the original listing say something like "Pictures of representative unit: each unit may vary"? Did the lease make any guarantees about appliances and counters? – abelenky Aug 5 at 13:55
  • The appliances expected are all listed in the "apartment inventory" which is included as part of the lease. The photos were described specifically with a link stating "view the floorplan here" – Jay Aug 5 at 15:06
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You've signed a lease, which is legally binding, so you need to determine 1) what exactly was stated in the rental offer by the property manager and/or website about the available apartments, if a certain apartment was guaranteed, and if one could be substituted for another by the manager due to availability and other factors; and 2) you need to find out exactly what the lease says that you have signed, i.e. if there are terms that allow you to break the lease without penalty, such as misrepresentation by the landlord or property manager.

If it turns out the manager did misrepresent the rental property, you may be able to break the lease. If the property manager stated at some point that the apartment represented by the photos may not be the actual property, you may be out of luck.

Before confronting the property manager again, gather up all your emails, documents, photos and any other evidence - such as written descriptions of any phone calls and talks you had with the property manager before and after the move in - and talk to either a legal aid organization that specializes in rental aid (Google for your area in CO), or a lawyer who deals in leases and offers free initial consultations.

Other than that, this site is not for specific legal advice, i.e. if you should sue the landlord to break the lease and move; that's your judgement and the advice of any legal representation.

  • Can you provide a reference for misrepresentation enabling termination? E.g., what is the standard for "misrepresentation"? – Jay Aug 5 at 15:10
  • Misrepresentation is showing you one apartment before the lease signing and giving you another afterward. That will be determined by the documents or verbal agreements that either say you "you get this exact apartment upon signing the lease" or "we can substitute apartments according to availability after the lease is signed." Your legal aid or lawyer will determine if there is misrepresentation, and if it enables termination. We're not going to read all the docs and make a legal determination here. – BlueDogRanch Aug 5 at 15:18

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