Recent Court Rulings

Lease Clearly Shows that Landlord Owns Tenant Improvements

January 23, 2020    

What Happened: Erection of a reception desk and bar fixture containing sinks for mixing hair color were among the improvements made at the landlord’s expense before a hair salon tenant moved in and opened shop. The reception desk and color bar were also among the assets...

No Constructive Eviction Where Tenant Didn’t Notify Owner of Sewage Problem

January 23, 2020    

What Happened: After experiencing repeated problems with the building sewage system, a bank branch tenant decided to move out. In its notification letter, the tenant claimed that it was subjected to “hazardous environmental conditions”—namely, mold and sewage...

Tenant's Nuisance Claim Against Owner Isn’t an Open-and-Shut Case

January 23, 2020    

What Happened: Sharing an office building with a gym where individuals and classes deliberately dropped free weights to the ground as part of their “Cross Fit” training made it hard for a tenant to carry out its radiation practice in peace. Frustrated with its...

How Much of Replacement Tenant’s Rent Must Landlord Offset Against Original Tenant’s Debt?

December 26, 2019    

What Happened: An auto detailing tenant acknowledged installing a parking lot area without the landlord’s authorization and then vacating with 19 months remaining on the lease. The question: How much, if any, of the rent the landlord received from the new tenant...

Eviction Court Had No Authority to Cut Tenant’s Rent

December 24, 2019    

What Happened: After spending more than $45,000 for improvements, a tenant claimed that it discovered that the premises it leased for five years for use as a hair salon was only 452 square feet rather than the 600 square feet the landlord represented. So the tenant asked for a...

Landlord Can't Collect Waste Damages While Lease Remains in Effect

December 23, 2019    

What Happened: A landlord discovered that a tenant had removed landscaping, added a sidewalk, and made other major structural alterations without notifying or getting the landlord’s consent as the lease required. The failure of the unauthorized alterations to meet building...

Landlord Wrongfully Withheld Tenant’s Security Deposit

December 12, 2019    

What Happened: For five years, a tenant leased space in Houston for use as a bar. After the lease ended, the tenant asked the landlord to return its $11,400 security deposit. When the landlord didn’t respond, it filed a lawsuit. The landlord countersued, claiming that the...

Was Tenant's Agreement an Assignment or Sublease?

December 12, 2019    

What Happened: A pizzeria tenant transferred its interests in a five-year lease to two individuals via an agreement called an “assignment.” When the individuals stopped paying rent with 14 months left on the lease, the landlord sued the tenant for payment of the $...

Tenant Took Too Long to Send Renewal Notice

December 12, 2019    

What Happened: In 2016, a grocery store tenant tried to renew the 15-year lease it signed in 1999, but the landlord claimed that it was too late because the six-month renewal window had already expired. The issue: When did the lease actually begin? The landlord claimed...

Procedural Slips Doom Tenant’s Contract Claims Against Landlord

December 12, 2019    

What Happened: A tanning salon tenant sued its landlord for breach of contract but listed the wrong corporate name. Before the tenant could file an amended suit...

Ordinary Wear and Tear ≠ Grounds for Eviction

November 21, 2019    

What Happened: After doing an inspection, the landlord tried to evict the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for violating its lease obligation to keep the premises in good repair, citing among other things:

  • Moss, birds, and bird droppings on the roof;
  • Safety...

Did Landlord Drag Its Feet on Repairs to Force Tenant Out?

November 21, 2019    

What Happened: Flooding caused by the bursting of a frozen sprinkler pipe forced a Boston specialty supermarket tenant to temporarily evacuate. After three months of waiting for the landlord to make the needed...