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California Commercial Lease Tenant Charged for Build Out When Lease Ended

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Neal Sandman, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Neal Sandman

    Neal Sandman Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I started a business in Riverside County and leased space at a small strip shopping mall. The landlord gave me a 12 month lease with an option at the end of 12 months. I decided not to exercise the option. I made changes to the unit which were reviewed, approved of, and signed off on by the landlord. After I left he billed me $8,000 to return the unit to the configuration it was when I leased it. But a former tenant told me when she leased the unit was only the 4 walls. No offices which I had to convert into a store. His build out seems arbitrary, esp. since I paid to make my set of changes. Normally NNN leases allow build out for each tenant and do not necessitate restoring the unit. My lease said "may restore" at discretion, but I was never told he would exercise the option. He showed me papers saying required to restore, but they are not part of my lease package. Furthermore he shows my initials, but I did not see those sections when I signed the lease and do not remember signing them. These are the bare bones of my situation. I know landlord tenant law in CA favors the landlord, but I am wondering what I can do to keep this guy from profiting from my tenancy. No doubt his charges are bogus and he may have paid half what he is charging me. My build out was $2,300, but he is charging $8K to restore. Any ideas on how to fight this? Thanks in Advance.
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    What does your lease say about that charge?

    I ask that, because you said that you were given approval in writing to make the changes to the space.

    If the second statement is correct, I would think you could take your claim to small claims court and prevail.

    Make sure you reread the lease, to make sure that if your changes were approved by the landlord you aren't required to pay for a build out necessitated because of the new tenant's needs.

    Yes, you will need to sue the landlord in small claims court.

    You can seek the guidance of a couple landlord-tenant or commercial real estate lawyers in your county.

    Normally the initial consultation is provided without cost or further obligation.

    Based upon your representations things appear to be lining up well for you.

    Good luck.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You can refuse to pay him and if he sues you, you defend.

    Or, if he keeps your deposit, you can sue him in small claims court.

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