Feature

Limit Your Duty to Re-Let After Tenant Defaults

May 20, 2019    
Consider this situation: With three years remaining on its lease, a commercial tenant decides to pull up stakes, vacate the premises, and stop paying rent. The landlord makes no effort to re-let the space and allows it to remain vacant through the end of the lease term. It then sues the tenant for...
Traps to Avoid

Don't Assume Anticipatory Breach Just Because Tenant Vacates

May 20, 2019    
The rule of “anticipatory breach” gives you the right to take immediate legal action against tenants that no longer intend to fulfill their remaining obligations under the lease. The catch: The tenant must make it crystal clear, whether by words or by actions, of its intent to bail on...
Dos & Don'ts

Don't Charge Tenants for Electricity 'Consumed'

May 20, 2019    
If your lease requires tenants to pay you their share of the property/facility’s electric bill, don’t say they have to pay for the electricity they “consume.” That’s because the bills you receive from the electric company may include elements not related to consumption...
Dos & Don'ts

Specify Tenant’s Alleged Lease Violations in Eviction Notice

May 20, 2019    
Make sure your eviction notices (a.k.a. notices to quit) specify exactly which duty and section of the lease the tenant violated. Otherwise the notice may be too vague and you won’t be able to get a court to evict the tenant no matter what it allegedly did wrong.
Owner Wins

Not Carrying Required Insurance Is Uncurable Violation

May 20, 2019    
What Happened: A landlord sued to evict a spa tenant for violating its lease obligation to maintain a general liability insurance policy. The spa acknowledged the violation but asked the court to toss the lawsuit because the landlord never gave it the formal notice and opportunity to cure required...
Owner Wins

Failure to Complete Improvements Is Grounds for Eviction

May 20, 2019    
What Happened: On Jan. 6, an airport authority assigned a lease to a hotel tenant requiring the latter to install a full-service bar, swimming pool, and other improvements and operate under a nationally recognized chain brand name by Dec. 31. But the hotel met neither obligation and the authority...
Owner Wins

Underestimating Expected CAM Costs Wasn’t Fraudulent Inducement

May 20, 2019    
What Happened: A lease for 5,000 square feet of restaurant space required the tenant to pay CAM costs but didn’t specify a figure or include a cap. As the lease was about to begin, the landlord offered an estimate of $6 per square foot. And that’s what the tenant paid.
Owner Wins

Landlord Goes After Tenant for Decades-Old Lease Violation

May 20, 2019    
What Happened: Eight years after moving in, a grocery store tenant renewed its lease in 2003 and wound up staying another 12 years. But as with all long-term relationships, there were disagreements. Issues in this tenancy that had lain dormant for 20 years surfaced just five days before the lease...
Feature

Put Three Protections in Lease to Prevent Constructive Eviction Claims

April 22, 2019    
“Constructive eviction” happens when a landlord commits a lease violation so egregious that it effectively forces the tenant out. Result: The tenant is free of all obligations and, in many cases, entitled to damages. And while constructive eviction cases used to be somewhat rare, recent...
Traps to Avoid

Avoid Seven Traps that Trigger Constructive Eviction Claims

April 22, 2019    
When you sue tenants for not paying rent, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll counter with a “constructive eviction” claim. The argument: We don’t owe you rent because you constructively evicted us. To win the claim, tenants must prove that you did (or omitted to do)...