Pop Quiz

Can Tenants Sue Landlords for Environmental Violations Affecting Leased Property?

September 23, 2022    

Suppose a landlord commits a serious violation of environmental laws that renders leased property unsafe for tenants to occupy. What legal remedies would the tenant have against the landlord? Here’s a scenario based on a recent federal case from Pennsylvania that sheds some light on this...

Can Landlord Evict Tenant for Not Carrying Required Insurance?

September 6, 2022    

A commercial lease to an auto shop tenant includes three key clauses:

1. Tenant’s duty to maintain insurance. Section 19 of the lease requires the tenant to maintain fire, business, and liability insurance on the property and name the landlord as an additional...

Did Landlord and Tenant Orally Modify the Lease?

July 20, 2022    

As many of us learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not uncommon for landlords and tenants to revise their lease terms on the fly in response to changing conditions. The general rule is that it’s okay to revise a written lease, provided that those changes are themselves put in...

Can Landlord Evict Tenant for Not Carrying Required Insurance?

May 23, 2022    

The recipe for legally evicting a tenant contains two essential ingredients:

  1. A valid substantive case—that is, proof that the tenant has violated a material duty under the lease without having a legal defense excusing the default; and
  2. Proper procedures for not only...

Is Tenant Liable for Its Customers’ Conduct in the Common Areas?

April 25, 2022    

A tenant’s customers and other “invitees” can create nuisances or disruptions that not only disturb other tenants but also harm a shopping center, office building, or other property’s image and reputation. While most leases seek to hold tenants accountable for their...

Using 'Bundled' Sales to Circumvent a Tenant's Right of First Refusal

October 19, 2021    

While it normally doesn’t disrupt the lease, the sale of leased property can be disconcerting to tenants. That’s why some tenants negotiate for first refusal rights giving them the option to purchase the property at the same price and terms the landlord accepts from a third-party...

Why Was This Relocation Clause Unenforceable?

September 21, 2021    

Every time you lease space to a tenant, you incur opportunity costs to the extent a more desirable tenant in need of that same space turns up later. That’s why clauses allowing you to relocate tenants to comparable space within the shopping center or building can be extremely valuable....

When Does the Landlord’s Duty to Refund a Security Deposit Start to Run?

August 24, 2021    

Security deposits remain a bone of contention in commercial leasing litigation, particularly now that COVID-19 eviction restrictions have been lifted. Typically, the obligation to return the security deposit begins when the tenant surrenders the premises. The following scenario, which is based...

Did Tenant Waive Landlord's Duty to Mitigate Damages?

May 4, 2021    

A restaurant tenant isn’t happy about what it deems to be the landlord’s inadequate efforts to market the mall and abandons the property. Instead of immediately seeking a replacement, the landlord lets the space remain vacant and sues the tenant for rent.

We didn’t...

Can Tenant Waive Landlord’s Duty to Mitigate Damages?

March 23, 2021    

WHAT HAPPENED

A restaurant tenant isn’t happy about what it deems to be the landlord’s inadequate efforts to market the mall and abandons the property. Instead of immediately seeking a replacement, the landlord lets the space remain vacant and sues the tenant for rent.

...

Can Landlords Limit Liability for ADA Violations by Removing Structural Barriers?

November 18, 2020    

WHAT HAPPENED

Workers hired by the landlord of a medical office building place a 55-gallon barrel that’s been cut in half to serve as a planter on the access ramp leading to the only public entrance of the building, leaving just 30 inches on either side for entrants to squeeze...

Is Rent Escalation Liquidated Damages Clause for Radius Clause Violation Enforceable?

October 21, 2020    

Liquidated damages clauses can be a convenient way to incentivize performance and avoid disputes over the price tag of breaches. One common use of such clauses is to require the tenant to pay predetermined rent increases in the event it violates a covenant not to open a competing business within...