Owner Loses

Assignor Not Bound by Lease Amendments Made After the Assignment

March 29, 2024    

What Happened: A tenant assigned its lease for commercial office space in Texas to its corporate sibling. The landlord and new tenant then amended the terms of the original lease. After evicting the new tenant for nonpayment of rent, the landlord sued the old tenant for the new...

Did Sewer Backups Give Tenant Right to Terminate for “Untenantability”?

February 27, 2024    

What Happened: Blockages in sewer pipelines located outside the property caused a constant stream of sewer backups inside a tenant’s store. Eventually, the tenant decided that enough was enough and vacated the premises. When the landlord sued for unpaid rent, the tenant...

Tenant Not Liable for Accident in Parking Lot Under Landlord’s Control

January 30, 2024    

What Happened: An exterminator working for Best Buy suffered serious injury after slipping and falling in the store’s icy parking lot. He sued Best Buy and the landlord that owned the property for negligence. Best Buy denied responsibility for maintaining the parking lot...

Court Temporarily Bars Landlord from Terminating Restaurant Lease

December 27, 2023    

What Happened: An Italian restaurant tried to assign its lease to a steakhouse, but the landlord refused and served notice of termination. The tenant denied committing any lease violation and asked the court to issue a temporary injunction barring the landlord from terminating...

Licensor Can't Bring Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit Against Licensee in Breach

November 28, 2023    

What Happened: A studio owner entered into a “License Agreement” giving a production company “the exclusive,” but “non-possessory” right to use the property. The production company defaulted on its rent payment and the owner brought an “...

Defaulting Tenant Not Liable for Unpaid Rent Beyond Lease Term

September 27, 2023    

What Happened: A construction materials tenant that admitted to not paying rent and abandoning the premises had no problem with the default judgment entered in the landlord’s favor but claimed that the sought-after award of 47 months’ rent was excessive, noting that...

Lease Clause Doesn't Eliminate Landlord’s Duty to Mitigate Damages

September 27, 2023    

What Happened: A restaurant subtenant admitted to defaulting on its obligation to pay rent and vacating the premises. But it objected to the $689,554.94 that the trial court awarded because the landlord didn’t mitigate its damages by seeking to relet the space to another...

Absentee Landlord Liable for Hazards on Adjacent Property

August 29, 2023    

What Happened: A call center employee who stopped by the office to pick up her paycheck after sunset got run over by a city bus and died. Her estate sued the call center and landlord for negligence. The defendants denied owing the victim a duty of care because the accident...

Landlord Must Indemnify Tenant for Costs of Defending Common Area Negligence Lawsuit

July 27, 2023    

What Happened: A national retail chain insisted that its shopping center lease include a clause requiring the landlord to indemnify it against losses arising out of things that happened in the common areas. The exact language:

Lease Renewal Doesn't Waive Tenant's Right to Rent Abatement for Anchor's Departure

July 27, 2023    

What Happened: A shopping center lease required the landlord to notify a clothing retail tenant and abate its rent if the anchor tenant, TJ Maxx, ceased to be “Open for Business” for three consecutive months. TJ Maxx moved out, and it took six months for the landlord...

Trial Needed to Resolve Tenant’s Broken HVAC Constructive Eviction Claim

June 26, 2023    

What Happened: With the HVAC system on the fritz, the heat inside the office building became so intense that a tenant’s employee passed out and had to be sent to a hospital, resulting in an OSHA heat stress complaint. At least that’s what the tenant argued. The...

Does Oral Agreement Modify the Terms of a Written Lease? (Spoiler Alert: It Might)

May 25, 2023    

What Happened: An insurance company tenant that had leased office space in the same building for nearly 15 years wanted out when a new owner acquired the property. In May 2019, the parties agreed to modify the lease duration to end on June 30, 2020, one year before the lease...