The lease agreement for my rental home clearly says that the landlord is responsible for paying for garbage services. However, after asking why I hadn't received our garbage bins yet, the leasing company told me that there was a typo on the lease and that I am responsible for all utilities (citing advertisements for the house which said as much).

Who is legally responsible for paying for the garbage utilities?

  • 5
    A typo is something like a misspelling, or pressing the wrong key. In certain situations, that could lead to a real change in meaning, but I find it hard to imagine how a typo could lead to this sort of error. In other words, that wasn't a typo, it was a different category of mistake.
    – TRiG
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 1:11
  • 3
    I suspect very strongly that the answer depends in part on your location, since the laws governing the lease will be different in different jurisdictions. Where is the leased home?
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 2:20

2 Answers 2


The advertisement is simply an invitation to treat.

The lease was the contract offer, and your signature and payment were acceptance of that offer.

The advertisement doesn't bind either party (other than as prohibited by deceptive advertising statutes), and you are allowed to negotiate an offer that differs from the invitation to treat.


We are sorry, but there was a typo in the contract, one zero is missing. The project fee should be $100,000 instead of $10,000.

What do you think?


This is not a typo. It is, clearly and unambiguously, stated in the contract.

What may be counted as typos in a legal document? E.g.

Vehicels that are wider than 5 foot is prohibited on this road.

Although the spelling is wrong and grammar is incorrect, the original meaning is reasonable and obvious.

IMHO, claiming that there is a typo on a legal document to avoid responsibility is a very irresponsible act.

Legally binding

An advertisement is not legally binding. As mentioned, it is an invitation to treat. It has, absolutely, zero legal effect.

A contract is a mutual agreement between two parties that are meant to have a legal effect.

Since the contract states that the landlord is responsible for paying utilities, you have several options here:

  • Ask the landlord to renegotiate a new contract, during which you can negotiate a new rent. In the new contract, include a clause which states that the old contract is voided. Note that before this new contract is signed, the old contract remain effective.
  • Continue demand the landlord to supply utilities, which you are legally entitled. If they do not comply, you may sue them for breach of contract.
  • Pay for utilities yourself, then sue the landlord for breach of contract, and ask for compensation of the cost of the utilities.

(Note that these suggestions are based on the only information provided. You may have more options, such as terminate the contract since one party has breached. However, without seeing the actual contract and knowing the jurisdiction, it is impossible to determine the remedy here. You may consult a lawyer in your area for more details.)

  • 3
    In some jurisdictions (New York is the one I'm familiar with), leases are controlled by landlord/tenant law. General contract law is not 100% applicable, or perhaps it should be said that L/T law supplies several implicit provisions in the contract. For example, the tenant has the right to withhold rent if the landlord fails to provide certain services; there's no need to sue the landlord for breach of contract. Certain provisions in a lease are also forbidden with language like "Any provision of a lease or rental agreement purporting to waive a provision of this section is null and void."
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 19:06

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