Owner Wins

Contractor's Lien Against Tenant Doesn't Reach Landlord

July 21, 2021    

What Happened: A restaurant tenant hired a contractor to install kitchen equipment in its leased space. The tenant paid only $60,000 of the contractor’s $274,000 bill. So, the contractor placed a lien on the space to secure the balance. And since the tenant had since been...

Court Nixes Tenant's $3M Racial Discrimination Case Against Landlord

July 21, 2021    

What Happened: For the first six months of the lease, an African-American owner of a day spa had a “great” and “courteous” relationship with her landlord. But then came the middle-of-the-night call the landlord received from the Sheriff’s Office...

Tenant Took Too Long to Exercise Purchase Option

June 17, 2021    

What Happened: After evicting a liquor store tenant, a landlord sued for immediate possession of the property. But the tenant didn’t want to leave and offered to buy the property, citing the following option in the lease:

Tenant has option...

Commercial Tenant Can't Claim Breach of 'Warranty of Habitability'

May 19, 2021    

What Happened: The tenant admitted to not paying its rent. The only question was whether it had a valid defense for not doing so. The tenant’s argument: The landlord violated its “warranty of habitability” by failing to fix the leaky roof. As the landlord...

No Slam Dunk that COVID Left Restaurant Premises ‘Untenantable’

May 19, 2021    

What Happened: It’s become a familiar pattern. A landlord sues to evict a restaurant tenant for not paying rent. The restaurant cites COVID-19 as an excuse and asked the court to dismiss the case.

Email Doesn’t Prove Landlord Let Doctor Out of Office Lease

May 19, 2021    

What Happened: A doctor had a longstanding personal relationship with one of the principles of the company from which he leased office space. In 2019, after contemplating retirement, he reluctantly re-upped for another five years. And then the pandemic hit. Unable to see...

Tenant's Failure to Pursue Required Zoning Change Justifies Lease Termination

April 21, 2021    

What Happened: One nonpaying tenant that didn’t catch a break from the courts was the one that leased store space for use as a boxing studio. The lease obligated the tenant to “pursue and diligently prosecute a change” in zoning that would allow the property to...

Court: Pandemic Isn't a 'Casualty' Event

April 6, 2021    

What Happened: Another retail tenant has failed in its bid to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not paying rent. The tenant in this case was a New York City outlet of national retail chain The Gap, which claimed, among other things, that the pandemic and its resulting shutdowns...

Pandemic Isn't a 'Casualty' Event

March 23, 2021    

What Happened: Another retail tenant has failed in its bid to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not paying rent. The tenant in this case was a New York City outlet of national retail chain The Gap, which claimed, among other things, that the pandemic and its resulting shutdowns...

Lockout Notice Wasn’t Defamatory Attack on Tenant’s Reputation

March 23, 2021    

What Happened: Upon arriving at his office, a tenant who was behind in his rent discovered that the landlord had changed the locks and left a paper notice taped to the inside glass door facing out. Its basic message: We’ve changed your lock. But we’re not...

Out-of-Possession Landlord Not Liable for Slip-and-Fall Injuries

March 23, 2021    

What Happened: An employee coming to work in the morning suffered serious injuries after slipping on ice in the office parking lot. Whether due to workers’ comp or just professional self-preservation, the employee decided that suing the landlord made a lot more sense than...

Eviction Moratorium Doesn't Get Guarantor Off the Hook

February 22, 2021    

What Happened: Like so many tenants affected by COVID-19, Saks Fifth Avenue stopped paying rent at its flagship New York City store. The landlord sued Saks’ parent company, the lease guarantor, for $2.7 million in unpaid rent. If these were normal times, we’d be...