If the landlord fails to notify tenant of changes to the lease, does this void the lease?
Your dispute with the landlord will likely be a matter of contract law. I suggest you read the terms of the lease carefully to determine what the landlord's rights and obligations are regarding amnedments to the lease. Montana statutes do not address notice of changes being provided to tenants. However Montana statutes do not allow a tenant to terminate the lease if the landlord's breach of the lease terms may be remedies by payment of less than a month's rent.
Material breach is a contract law term which refers to a failure of performance under the contract which is significant enough to give the aggrieved party the right to sue for breach of contract. When there has been a material breach, the aggrieved party is also relieved of a duty of further performance under the contract. However, a minor divergence from the terms of the contract is not a material breach. A material breach is one that is significant enough to destroy the value of the contract.
Contracts are agreements that are legally enforceable. A contract is an agreement between two parties that creates an obligation to do or refrain from doing a particular thing. The purpose of a contract is to establish the terms of the agreement by which the parties have fixed their rights and duties. An oral contract is an agreement made with spoken words and either no writing or only partially written. An oral contract may generally be enforced the same as a written agreement. However, it is much more difficult with an oral contract to prove its existence or the terms. Oral contracts also usually have a shorter time period within which a person seeking to enforce their contract right must sue. A written contract generally provides a longer time to sue than for breach of an oral contract. Contracts are mainly governed by state statutory and common (judge-made) law and private law. Private law generally refers to the terms of the agreement between the parties, as parties have freedom to override many state law requirements regarding formalities of contracts. Each state has developed its own common law of contracts, which consists of a body of jurisprudence developed over time by trial and appellate courts on a case-by-case basis.
An unjustifiable failure to perform all or some part of a contractual duty is a breach of contract. A legal action for breach of contract arises when at least one party's performance does not live up to the terms of the contract and causes the other party to suffer economic damage or other types of measurable injury. A lawsuit for breach of contract is a civil action and the remedies awarded are designed to place the injured party in the position they would be in if not for the breach. Remedies for contractual breaches are not designed to punish the breaching party. The five basic remedies for breach of contract include the following: money damages, restitution, rescission, reformation, and specific performance. A money damage award includes a sum of money that is given as compensation for financial losses caused by a breach of contract. Parties injured by a breach are entitled to the benefit of the bargain they entered, or the net gain that would have accrued but for the breach. The type of breach governs the extent of damages that may be recovered.
Restitution is a remedy designed to restore the injured party to the position occupied prior to the formation of the contract. Parties seeking restitution may not request to be compensated for lost profits or other earnings caused by a breach. Instead, restitution aims at returning to the plaintiff any money or property given to the defendant under the contract. Plaintiffs typically seek restitution when contracts they have entered are voided by courts due to a defendant's incompetence or incapacity.
Rescission is the name for the remedy that terminates the contractual duties of both parties, while reformation is the name for the remedy that allows courts to change the substance of a contract to correct inequities that were suffered. In order to have a rescission, both parties to the contract must be placed in the position they occupied before the contract was made. Courts have held that a party may rescind a contract for fraud, incapacity, duress, undue influence, material breach in performance of a promise, or mistake, among other grounds.
Specific performance is an equitable remedy that compels one party to perform, as nearly as practicable, his or her duties specified by the contract. Specific performance is available only when money damages are inadequate to compensate the plaintiff for the breach
Promissory estoppel is a term used in contract law that applies where, although there may not otherwise be an enforceable contract, because one party has relied on the promise of the other, it would be unfair not to enforce the agreement. Promissory estoppel arises from a promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forebearance of a definite and substantial character on the part of the promisee and which does induce such action or forebearance in binding if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise. Detrimental reliance is a term commonly used to force another to perform their obligations under a contract, using the theory of promissory estoppel. Promissory estoppel may apply when a promise was made; reliance on the promise was reasonable or foreseeable; there was actual and reasonable reliance on the promise; the reliance was detrimental; and injustice can only be prevented by enforcing the promise. Detrimental reliance must be shown to involve reliance that is reasonable, which is a determination made on an individual case-by-case basis, taking all factors into consideration. Detrimental means that some type of harm is suffered.
Reasonable reliance is usually referred to as a theory of recovery in contract law. It was what a prudent person might believe and act upon based on something told by another. Sometimes a person acts in reliance on the promise of a profit or other benefit, only to learn that the statements or promises were either incorrect or were exaggerated. The one who acted to their detriment in reasonable reliance may recover damages for the costs of his/her actions or demand performance. Reasonable reliance connotes the use of the standard of ordinary and average person.
The following are Montana stautes:
70-24-407. Damages for minor violations by landlord.
If the landlord fails to comply with the rental agreement or 70-24-303
and the reasonable cost of compliance is less than the 1 month's rent, the
tenant may recover damages for the breach under 70-24-406(2).
70-24-303. Landlord to maintain premises — agreement that tenant perform
duties — limitation of landlord's liability for failure of smoke detector
or carbon monoxide detector.
(1) A landlord:
(a) shall comply with the requirements of applicable building and
housing codes materially affecting health and safety in effect at the
time of original construction in all dwelling units where construction is
completed after July 1, 1977;
(b) may not knowingly allow any tenant or other person to engage in any
activity on the premises that creates a reasonable potential that the
premises may be damaged or destroyed or that neighboring tenants may be
injured by any of the following:
(i) criminal production or manufacture of dangerous drugs, as prohibited
(ii) operation of an unlawful clandestine laboratory, as prohibited by
(iii) gang-related activities, as prohibited by Title 45, chapter 8,
(c) shall make repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the
premises in a fit and habitable condition;
(d) shall keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe
(e) shall maintain in good and safe working order and condition all
electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning,
and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or
required to be supplied by the landlord;
(f) shall, unless otherwise provided in a rental agreement, provide and
maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of
ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of
the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal;
(g) shall supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at
all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1, except if the
building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be
equipped for that purpose or the dwelling unit is so constructed that
heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive
control of the tenant; and
(h) shall install in each dwelling unit under the landlord's control an
approved carbon monoxide detector, in accordance with rules adopted by the
department of labor and industry, and an approved smoke detector, in
accordance with rules adopted by the department of justice, an approved
smoke detector in each dwelling unit under the landlord's control. Upon
commencement of a rental agreement, the landlord shall verify that the
carbon monoxide detector and the smoke detector in the dwelling unit
isare in good working order. The tenant shall maintain the carbon
monoxide detector and the smoke detector in good working order during the
tenant's rental period. For the purposes of this subsection, an approved
carbon monoxide detector, as defined in 70-20-113, and an approved smoke
detector,is a device that is capable of detecting visible or invisible
particles of combustion and that bears , as defined in 70-20-113, bear a
label or other identification issued by an approved testing agency having
a service for inspection of materials and workmanship at the factory
during fabrication and assembly.
(2) If the duty imposed by subsection (1)(a) is greater than a duty
imposed by subsections (1)(b) through (1)(h), a landlord's duty must be
determined by reference to subsection (1)(a).
(3) A landlord and tenant of a one-, two-, or three-family residence
may agree in writing that the tenant perform the landlord's duties
specified in subsections (1)(f) and (1)(g) and specified repairs,
maintenance tasks, alteration, and remodeling but only if the transaction
is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the
obligations of the landlord.
(4) A landlord and tenant of a one-, two-, or three-family residence may
agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks,
alterations, or remodeling only if:
(a) the agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not
for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and is set
forth in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by
(b) the work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with
subsection (1)(a); and
(c) the agreement does not diminish the obligation of the landlord to
other tenants in the premises.
(5) The landlord is not liable for damages caused as a result of the
failure of the carbon monoxide detector or the smoke detector required
under subsection (1)(h).
70-24-406. Failure of landlord to maintain premises — tenant's remedies.
(1) Except as provided in this chapter, if there is a noncompliance with
70-24-303 affecting health and safety, the tenant may:
(a) deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and
omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will
terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice if
the breach is not remedied in 14 days. If the noncompliance results in a
case of emergency and the landlord fails to remedy the situation within 3
working days after written notice by the tenant of the situation and the
tenant's intention to terminate the rental agreement, the tenant may
terminate the rental agreement. The rental agreement terminates as provided
in the notice subject to the following exceptions:
(i) if the breach is remediable by repairs, the payment of damages, or
otherwise and the landlord adequately remedies the breach before the date
specified in the notice, the rental agreement does not terminate by reason
of the breach;
(ii) if substantially the same act or omission which constituted a prior
noncompliance of which notice was given recurs within 6 months, the tenant
may terminate the rental agreement upon at least 14 days' written notice
specifying the breach and the date of termination of the rental agreement;
(iii) the tenant may not terminate for a condition caused by the tenant,
a member of the tenant's family, or other persons on the premises with the
(b) make repairs that do not cost more than 1 month's rent and deduct the
cost from the rent if the tenant has given the landlord notice and the
landlord has not made the repairs within a reasonable time. If the repair
is required in a case of emergency and the landlord has not made the
repairs, the tenant may have repairs made only by a person qualified to
make the repairs.
(2) Except as provided in this chapter, the tenant may recover actual
damages and obtain injunctive relief for any noncompliance by the landlord
with the rental agreement or 70-24-303.
(3) The remedy provided in subsection (2) of this section is in addition
to a right of the tenant arising under subsection (1).
(4) If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all
security recoverable by the tenant pursuant to chapter 25 of this title.