Recent Court Rulings

Lease Doesn't Make Tenant Responsible for Real Estate Tax Increases

September 23, 2022    

What Happened: A nonprofit landlord leased property to a for-profit utility to operate a solar-powered electric-generating facility. The lease required the tenant to:

Guarantor on the Hook for Landlord's Consequential Damages

September 23, 2022    

What Happened: A landlord sued Saks, Inc., for failure to honor a corporate guaranty of its subsidiary’s obligation to pay rent under its shopping center lease. Saks owes us attorneys’ fees and consequential damages covering the loss in the property’s value we...

NYC Landlord Not Guilty of Harassing Nonpaying Tenant

September 23, 2022    

What Happened: In May 2020, with the pandemic in full rage, New York City adopted a law banning commercial landlords from harassing tenants. A bridal shop tenant invoked the law after the landlord sued it and its guarantor for unpaid rent and additional rent for real estate tax...

Shopping Center Co-Tenancy Rent Abatement Isn’t an Unenforceable Penalty

August 29, 2022    

What Happened: A shopping center tenant exercised its supposed right to pay reduced rent under a co-tenancy clause that kicked in when either: (1) the center lacked either three anchor tenants; or (2) 60 percent of the space wasn’t leased. While acknowledging that a...

COVID-19 Shutdown Orders Are Not a “Taking” Under the Lease

August 29, 2022    

 What Happened: A clothing retailer leased space for “[a]ny general retail use, including the display and sale of apparel, shoes and accessories, gifts, cards, furniture, home furnishings...

Leaving Equipment Behind for 24 Hours Isn’t a Holdover

July 20, 2022    

What Happened: After a mutually beneficial tenancy of over two decades, Comcast moved out of its Michigan corporate headquarters. The move didn’t go exactly as planned, and the company was unable to remove equipment from its in-house fitness center by the lease termination...

OK to Evict Shopping Center Tenant for Creating a Nuisance Without Opportunity to Cure

July 20, 2022    

What Happened: Shopping center tenants complained to the landlord about the “overwhelming unpleasant possibly toxic odors” emanating from their neighboring bar lounge tenant whose patrons were apparently allowed to smoke tobacco and marijuana with impunity. The...

Landlord Can Collect Rent from Defaulting Tenant After Selling the Property

July 20, 2022    

What Happened: In 2019, a clothing store signed a 10-year lease on commercial property in Chicago, starting in September 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the tenant never moved in. In May 2021, the landlord sold the building and terminated the lease. In addition to $1.4...

Bankrupt Tenant Can Renew Lease Despite Defective Renewal Notice

June 23, 2022    

What Happened: A restaurant tenant with a habit of paying rent late took advantage of the COVID-19 shutdown to make some improvements to the space at its own expense, assuming that it would be able to renew once the lease came to an end in August 2021. But the tenant was still...

Must Landlord or Tenant Pay for Required Earthquake Retrofit?

June 23, 2022    

What Happened: The town of Santa Monica passed an ordinance requiring a commercial building leased to a delicatessen/catering firm to be retrofitted for earthquakes. The landlord claimed that the tenant, who had leased the building since 1973, was the real owner and thus...

Another Restaurant Tenant’s COVID-19 Impossibility Defense Bites the Dust

June 23, 2022    

What Happened: February 2020 was the last month a high-end steak house restaurant tenant paid full rent. When COVID-19 hit, the restaurant had to shut down and later could open only for outdoors and indoor dining at very limited capacity. In September, the tenant moved out at...

Out-of-Possession Landlord Not Liable for Injury to Tenant’s Employee

May 23, 2022    

What Happened: The employee of a tenant suffered serious injury after a heavy box fell on top of him. The victim blamed the accident on the leaky warehouse roof, which caused the box to become waterlogged and weakened the palette holding it up. He sued the landlord for...