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Landlord problems- business rental

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by wintermydear, Nov 2, 2002.

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  1. wintermydear

    wintermydear Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Okay I will try not to make this too long...

    I own a small automotive repair/performance/retail business in MD, in Sept. 01 we moved our business into a larger building. Prior to moving in the landlord claimed he would put up security lights in our fenced in lot as we deal with high dollar vehicles and had problems with theft in our last building. He also agreed to fix the leaks in the roof & clean up the lot where the previous tenant- body shop- had left tons of scrap metal. We have yet to have new lights installed and i will get to the leaks in a minute. We have a two year lease which was not drawn up until January it is a very basic (purchase at "Staples") Lease. Basically stating our rent is paid on the 15th of the month. Upon moving into the building we spent close to $9000.00 remodeling as the building was in bad shape and we had to have a showroom (the landlord allowed us to do so but did not reimburse us). Since the landlord never sent anyone to clean the scrap metal we paid $1200.00 to have it removed as it was taking up the majority of the lot and looked horrible. Over the past year we have had several vehicles broken into in the lot which our insurance would not cover since they were outside of the building.. in August we were burglarized 5 times and although we had an alarm the guy lived in the neighborhood and was able to get in and out before they could get here-- we purchased a video camera system and eventually caught him-- the landlord refused to help with repairs to the doors so I had to buy replacement doors out of my own pocket. At this point I got behind on my rent-- although I pay as soon as I can I am still a month behind. We also found out that the block that our building is on which contains several other businesses is mortgaged as one property and the water pump for all the buildings was run off of our electric-- we paid the bill for a year before realizing this and requesting it be seperated- we were never reimbursed for paying the electric for other businesses to use our electric for this... over the past year the leaks in the roof have gotten worse finally I requested something be done as stated... this past Monday while we were closed someone came to fix the roof... When I came in that evening to do paperwork I found tar all down the side of the building- all over the door I just replaced-- all over a lincoln continental in our lot & it had even pured through our roof and onto the floor we had installed when we moved in. The roofers had also thrown wood from the roof and dented our vehicle. When I walked into the showroom water was pouring through the ceiling and the drop ceiling tiles I paid to have installed were falling due to the amount of water in them, my showcase had flooded and ruined merchandise and several of the shirts I sell were covered in tar-- when I tried to contact the landlord I was told he had passed away the previous Friday... I was told to contact a property manager his wife had hired-- upon contacting him I explained the problems and he stated "Perhaps this isn't the building for you, You are a month behind on your rent and we are not going to be plagued with complaints of leaks." I demanded he come look at the problem he agreed to come the next morning. Tuesday morning he showed up and said "Iwill send someone over to fix it but you need to catch up on your rent." It is now Saturday and nobody has come to fix the roof-- I have been closed all week due to hazardous conditions and have spent my days emptying buckets every half hour since it has rained here all week and to top it off I think rather than fix it he is going to try to evict me for being behind on my rent.

    What can/Should I do?? Any advice would be appreciated.
    :( :confused:
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    You may do best (with commercial property) fixing the roof at your expense and then abating the rent by the amount of the cost to repair. You should have put the items regarding security doors into the lease. The roof, however, is likely the landlord's complete responsibility. However, before you take any action you will want to send the landlord a letter, certified return receipt, stating his breach of the lease with regard to the roof and other items that are his responsibility to which he was notified and has not responded appropriately for months. Therefore, you have been forced to withhold rent equivalent to the amount needed to make you whole for his responsibility.

    Commercial leases are NOT residential leases. They are strictly construed. If your expenses are below the rent and you are likely not to make rent, you may want to think of settling with the landlord and use some of the leverage while you have it.
     

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