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Can a landlord start a contract with a new tenant without first terminating an existing contract?

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by charliesnow, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. charliesnow

    charliesnow Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    Virginia
    The landlord was unable to fulfill his contractual obligations and therefore was in breach of our contract. Landlord sent termination agreement, but no agreement was made or any papers signed. Landlord still has security deposit and our contract still in place, but there is evidence that there are now new tenants in the space. Is this legal?
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It seems you are no longer living in the rental? There is information missing here.
    Did you move out before the lease ended? If so, what were the circumstances? Did you give notice and return the keys?
    How long has it been since you moved out? Has there been any communication regarding the deposit or damages?
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I would also ask if this is a house (single family) or apartment in an apartment complex.

    If it's a house does the owner own more than two such rentals in his own name?

    If not, then he is not subject to the VA landlord tenant statute and what you can or cannot do about the deposit depends on the terms and conditions of your contract and a better explanation of the details about what happened.
     
  4. charliesnow

    charliesnow New Member

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    Actually, it is a commercial space, restaurant to be more specific. It was in the contract for the landlord to install the hood system for the kitchen, we gave him the floor plans for the space, he approved them, then installed a standpipe right where the hood was supposed to go. There is no where else to put said hood. My end of the lease (paying rent) doesn't commence until he fulfills his obligations, which he is now unable to do. But I've seen that construction has continued, with my floor plans nonetheless but another tenant.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Commercial leases are a lot more complicated than residential leases. If you were prevented from taking possession of the premises because of the landlord's breach you are going to have to sue him for the return of your deposit along with any other monetary damages that his breach cost you.

    The Virginia small claims limit is $5000 so if your monetary damages are within that limit you can use small claims court without a lawyer.

    If it's a lot more money you'll need a lawyer.
     
  6. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Have you asked the landlord about the deposit yet? What was the response?
     
  7. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    why didn't you sign the termination agreement? What did it say about the return of any deposit?

    What did the original lease/contract say about the buildout (timing/cost/etc)? What "out"/inspection did you have if the buildout was not done to specifications? What did it say abou terminating the contract and any deposit?

    You need to take your lease and your termination agreement to a local attorney who is familiar with commercial leases.
     

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