Recent Court Rulings

Court Upholds NYC COVID-19 Commercial Tenant Anti-Harassment Law

December 17, 2020    

What Happened: New York City has a law that bans commercial landlords from engaging in “harassment” to force tenants to vacate or waive lease rights via illegal threat of force or threats based on race, creed, color, age, etc. At the height of the first wave of the...

Landlord Trumps Up Minor Lease Infractions as Excuse to Get Rid of Tenant

December 17, 2020    

What Happened: A landlord who had just bought the property and was eager to lease it for a higher rent approached the current gas station tenant about a potential buyout. The negotiations proved unsuccessful. Less than three months later, the landlord tried to evict the tenant...

Court: No ‘Prevailing Party’ Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees in COVID Rent Case

December 17, 2020    

What Happened: Who won the legal showdown between the Florida mall and the retail tenant that cited the force majeure clause of its lease as an excuse not to pay rent in May due to business losses resulting from government COVID-19 shutdown orders? At stake was more than pride....

Bankruptcy Court Lifts Stay to Let Owner Evict Assignee in Chapter 11

November 18, 2020    

What Happened: An airport tenant assigned its lease to an assignee. In June 2020, the owner and tenant signed an agreement terminating the lease. In August, the assignee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The owner asked for permission to bring a lawsuit to evict the assignee...

Tenant Can Exercise Its Lease Kick-Out Rights Despite Notice Snafus

November 18, 2020    

What Happened: A lease for a shopping center included the following clause:

Landlord and Tenant Blame Each Other for Sprinkler Malfunction

November 18, 2020    

What Happened: A pharmaceutical company used the warehouse it sublet to store its drug products. But the warehouse sprinkler system went haywire and inflicted $265,110 in damage to the products. The company sued the landlord and tenant. Naturally, each side blamed the other and...

No Evicting Tenant for Slight Delay in Curing Rent Nonpayment During COVID

October 21, 2020    

What Happened: Bed Bath & Beyond (BB&B) didn’t provide the necessary sales records to verify its percentage rent payments, concluded the landlord’s auditor in the spring of 2017. The landlord didn’t talk to BB&B or otherwise follow up on the audit....

Landlord Can Evict Marijuana Operation Without Giving Opportunity to Cure

October 21, 2020    

What Happened: A county in a state with legalized marijuana adopted an ordinance banning cultivation. A tenant that got its license before the ban was adopted determined that it was exempt and kept on operating. But the tenant had never gotten the required permits and thus wasn...

Tenant Had Possession of Property Despite Not Moving In

October 21, 2020    

What Happened: A medical clinic signed a multi-year lease on a three-story building requiring major renovations. After faithfully paying monthly rent for two years, the clinic stopped making its rent payments. The landlord sent a default notice giving the clinic five days to...

Owner Wins Chance to Prove Accelerated Rent Claim at Trial

September 18, 2020    

What Happened: Six years into its 10-year term, an owner exercised its lease right to adjust a dental clinic tenant’s rent. But the clinic refused to pay the increase and moved out. The owner claimed the clinic was in default, terminated the lease, and demanded $1.5...

Previous Owner's Acceptance of Late Rent Doesn't Waive New Owner's Right to Timely Rent

September 18, 2020    

What Happened: A medical tenant repeatedly paid rent late without late fees or any other penalties. But then the building was sold. And the new owner wasn’t as forgiving or tolerant of the tenant’s personal stresses and “business ups and downs” as the...

Tenants Must Pay Neighbors $7.4M for Negligent Use of Warehouse

September 18, 2020    

What Happened: Only 10,000 of the tenant’s 560,000 square-foot recycling warehouse had fire department approval for occupancy. And while the tenants were advised to do so, they never installed the necessary, code-compliant sprinkler and water flow systems. So, when the...