Failure to Certify Costs Dooms Landlord’s CAM Collection Case
What Happened: A landlord sued a retail tenant for, among other things, not paying CAM charges. The tenant acknowledged its failure to pay but claimed it wasn’t liable because the landlord didn’t provide the certification required by the following lease language:
Within thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar quarter . . . Landlord shall furnish Tenant a statement covering the calendar quarter or year just expired, certified as correct by a certified public accountant or an authorized representative of Landlord, showing the total of such common area expenses, the amount of Tenant’s share of such common area expenses for such calendar quarter or year . . . . (Italics added.)
Hogwash, said the landlord, noting that it had provided the tenant spreadsheets documenting CAM charges as attachments to its emails. The tenant asked the trial court to dismiss the landlord’s claim without a trial, and the court agreed.
Decision: The California appeals court found the lower court ruling reasonable and refused to set it aside.
Reasoning: The spreadsheets the landlord provided weren’t enough to satisfy the certification requirement of the lease. “To ‘certify’ means to declare something to be true or accurate or to issue a certificate or license upon meeting specified requirements,” the court explained. But the spreadsheet email attachments weren’t provided, let alone certified, by a CPA or authorized landlord representative as the lease required.
- Samuel v. Brake Masters Holdings Sac, Inc., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7165, 2019 WL 5540948