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Bullying by Commercial Landlord

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Iconoclasm, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. Iconoclasm

    Iconoclasm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Wisconsin
    My friend as a tattoo shop in Lake Geneva WI which has been in operation for 20 years and she has rented from the same landlord the entire time. I have an apartment on the same building connected to the business. She wanted an ATM installed and inquired into 24 hr availability. I informed her that her landlord would probably not allow her to do this because it would require building alterations costing thousands of dollars and that the machine would cost several thousand more to purchase. I thought about it and came up with what I believed to be a feasible solution. I bought a late 50's style phone booth and put an indoor ATM into it. I am currently endeavoring to restore it and everything works including the fan and light. This allows 24 hour access and protects the machine from the elements.

    PROBLEM:
    The landlord doesn't like it and told us to remove it because e thinks it is "ugly." My question is to you:

    Under Wisconsin law does the landlord have the right to tell my client that she cannot have the ATM booth on the premises(that she has rented for 2 decades), simply because it's "ugly" in his perspective?

    I would also like to state for the record that he is the only person to say it is ugly while an overwhelming amount of individuals who have stated that they love it! I personally believe that the 79 year old landlord is miffed because we did not ask his permission to do this and that that is the underlying reason for his bullying. Further, this man came into her shop last week and screamed at her for the machine being there. He frequently just stops in unannounced without giving the required 24 hour notice. Since the machine has to do with operation of her business, isn't that considered harassment, infringing on her livelihood, and undue hardship?

    Any legal advice on this would be much appreciated. Thank you

    My friend as a tattoo shop in Lake Geneva WI which has been in operation for 20 years and she has rented from the same landlord the entire time. I have an apartment on the same building connected to the business. She wanted an ATM installed and inquired into 24 hr availability. I informed her that her landlord would probably not allow her to do this because it would require building alterations costing thousands of dollars and that the machine would cost several thousand more to purchase. I thought about it and came up with what I believed to be a feasible solution. I bought a late 50's style phone booth and put an indoor ATM into it. I am currently endeavoring to restore it and everything works including the fan and light. This allows 24 hour access and protects the machine from the elements.

    PROBLEM:
    The landlord doesn't like it and told us to remove it because e thinks it is "ugly." My question is to you:

    Under Wisconsin law does the landlord have the right to tell my client that she cannot have the ATM booth on the premises (that she has rented for 2 decades), simply because it's "ugly" in his perspective?

    I would also like to state for the record that he is the only person to say it is ugly while an overwhelming amount of individuals who have stated that they love it! I personally believe that the 79 year old landlord is miffed because we did not ask his permission to do this and that that is the underlying reason for his bullying. Further, this man came into her shop last week and screamed at her for the machine being there. He frequently just stops in unannounced without giving the required 24 hour notice. Since the machine has to do with operation of her business, isn't that considered harassment, infringing on her livelihood, and undue hardship?

    Any legal advice on this would be much appreciated. Thank you
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Read the lease.
    The lease prohibits modifications without the express written consent of the landlord.

    I suggest she remove the problem, otherwise she'll be facing an eviction.

    On the flip side, if you don't remove the ATM, I suspect some enterprising criminal will remove it for you. The machine and phone booth aren't what interest a thief. The greenbacks tucked safely inside is what will motivate the thief.
     
  3. Iconoclasm

    Iconoclasm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    No it does not have such a clause as the land lord as not provided a new lease agreement for 15 years! The machine IS NOT attached to the building, and is NOT a permanent structure. I have 24 our camera surveillance on the machine and live on premise as well. One last point is the fact that this land lord has put the building up for sale and lied to us bot about that. We made an offer but e is asking far more than the building is worth by all standards. It would require new wiring and plumbing throughout. The driveway is an eyesore, and in bad need of repair.

    In effect the phone booth is a decorative, non permanent, structure. If I must take it away, I will, and I will put it on a trailer. Ten he will really have an eye sore!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  4. KatDini

    KatDini Well-Known Member

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  5. d1amund

    d1amund Member

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    Why doesn't she just move the ATM into the parlor? Isn't the sole purpose of the ATM such that clients of the parlor can withdraw cash to pay for tattoos?

    Why bother with the hassle of theft, vandalism AND issues with the landlord by having it outside in some sort of makeshift enclosure? Oftentimes it's easier to take the high road (read: the common sense approach).

    And yes, the landlord has the right to dictate what is installed, stored, or positioned on the outside of his property...like it or not.

    Other options...move.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Don't create multiple threads to discuss the same or similar question.
    We don't provide LEGAL ADVICE.
    We simply discuss matters related to the law.
    If you desire legal advice, I suggest you retain an attorney.
    FYI: Most lawyers will meet with prospective clients initially at no charge or further obligation.
    That might be something you can consider, OP.
    Thank you for following our COMMON SENSE rules.


    Wisconsin state government discusses month to month tenancies:

    WI DATCP: Tenants Rights & Responsibilities
     
  7. dee_dub

    dee_dub Moderator

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    Why didn't she just ask the landlord? Who knows, he might have said "yes".

    If they haven't signed a new lease in 15 years, it's quite possible that the terms of the original lease still apply and the lease has simply been renewed automatically on its terms.

    As I understand it, it's probably not barred by some "no alterations" clause. But it quite likely could be barred by some other clause (no leaving things around outside, f'rinstance). Tell your friend to go read the lease, and ask the landlord under what clause he thinks it's not allowed. I would bet the LL has a pretty good leg to stand on.
     
  8. Iconoclasm

    Iconoclasm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Different types of law, and different approaches to it.
     
  9. Iconoclasm

    Iconoclasm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    She wanted 24 hr access!
     
  10. Iconoclasm

    Iconoclasm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    His "leg to stand on" is unsupported by his actions. He said it was "ugly." If you saw this place,
     
  11. Iconoclasm

    Iconoclasm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Most lease forms are not even legal because they are not official state documents, but my point is that she rents that shop as a place of business and should be able to earn a living, some of which she earns from that machine, and since it is my machine I do as well.
     
  12. d1amund

    d1amund Member

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    Now we are getting to the real reason for the post.

    Have you considered offering to cut the owner in on those ATM surcharge fees that the two of you are benefitting from? It may be easier for him to get past the "ugly" if he was profiting from it.

    Have you also considered that the owner may have the right to dictate what is on the outside of his bundling? If you owned a property, would you like to have the right to dictate if the tenant can install a giant statue of a pig wearing a nazi flag as a bandanna sitting atop the roof?

    You need to refer to your lease, as well as hers.
     
  13. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The tenant is bound by the terms of the lease previously agreed to, even 15 years ago. If the tenant does not have a copy of it then the tenant should ask for one, or ask for a new lease agreement. There does not have to be a new written lease every year, and I have never heard of any official form for a lease in any state. A lease agreement could be written with lipstick on toilet paper and be valid.
    If for some reason the lease doesn't exist then it would likely default to statute.
    The tenant most likely is violating lease terms and the landlord most likely is legitimately enforcing his property interest.
    Tenant is the guest and can be forced out- best to make nice with the landlord and bring the machine indoors.

    Also, as described, I too would not expect the outdoor machine to last long. It is a prime target for thieves.
     
  14. Iconoclasm

    Iconoclasm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, I did offer to cut him in. He's pissed off that she didn't ask is permission. What is ugly is the driveway! I think I can get him to bend, I just have to appeal to his humanity and the fact that I have friends in the paving department.
     

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