Question: Two weeks ago we leased an apartment for six months in a North Phoenix apartment complex. One of the main reasons we chose this particular apartment was that the property manager said that the community pool was heated. The community pool, however, is not heated. When we complained to the property manager, the property manager said that the owner had recently decided that, because of the increased cost of utilities in the apartment complex, the community pool would no longer be heated in the winter months. Can we cancel our lease and move to another complex with a heated community pool?
Answer: If the misrepresentation by the property manager about the heated community pool relates to the “essence” of the entire lease transaction, you can cancel the lease. In other words, if you discussed with the property manager that the heated community pool was the major reason that you wanted to rent an apartment in that particular complex, e.g., the heated swimming pool was therapy for your arthritis, the lease could be cancelled. If the misrepresentation was only a material factor in renting the apartment in this particular apartment complex, along with other material factors such as location and amount of rent, you are required to honor the lease but you would be entitled to damages for the misrepresentation. The damages generally would be the difference between the rent for your apartment with a heated community pool and the rent for your apartment without a heated community pool.