Tenant Can't Claim Use Violated Zoning Law
A commercial tenant signed a lease for space in an area zoned for residential use. In the past, the owner and its previous tenants had gotten occupancy permits that let them use the space for commercial purposes. The tenant never got such an occupancy permit. Seven months into the lease, the tenant notified the owner that it was moving out because its use of the space violated the zoning law, and it stopped paying rent. The owner sued the tenant for the remainder of rent due under the lease.
A Missouri appeals court ruled that the tenant couldn't rely on the defense that its use of the space violated zoning law when it could have complied with the law by getting an occupancy permit for commercial use. The court ordered the tenant to pay the owner the remainder of the rent due under the lease, and attorney's fees [Peek v. Dominguez].