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Robbery, Repairs, Rent

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by daveredemption, Oct 9, 2008.

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  1. daveredemption

    daveredemption Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I own a very small business in California. Two months ago my business was burglarized. The thieves came through a hole they created in the roof of our building. I spoke with my landlord (landlord is the building owner) the day after the burglary and explained to him that the hole in the roof needed to be fixed. He did not act / repair the Roof. One week later my company was robbed again (the thieves used the same entry point I asked the landlord to repair). He finally fixed the hole. During this time our air conditioner started going out (the week of the 2nd robbery). My landlord stated that as soon as I paid the rent he would replace the air conditioner. At this point he has still not repaired the air conditioner. We had a pretty bad heat wave in our city the last couple of months. The air conditioner went completely out at the beginning of September. We were forced to close the business on several days because of the heat in the building, on other days we lost a lot of customers because of the heat in the building (customers would walk in and complain about the heat and then leave). Its now October, we lost a lot of money because of our landlord in the last couple of months. He is now asking for the rent for October. We are not currently under any lease with the landlord (as of January this year the lease has been up). But because of the nature of our business it is very hard to find a shop front that has the proper "coding" for our business.
    We are a service based business (body art) so the climate in our shop must be comfortable. We offered to replace the air conditioner ourselves and just deduct it from our rent but he refused. Stating "He would take care of it."

    I have tried to explain to him that we do not have the rent this month because of the air conditioner issue (I did not mention the robbery problem).
    Do I as a renter have any rights in this situation? Thank you all in advance for reading my ramble and for any advice that you can give.
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    To begin, your lease is commercial and falls under a completely different set of rules than residential. Second, without seeing the lease it's impossible to say with certainty what your options are. Third, I'm not sure why you haven't discussed the landlord's liability for the second robbery given his failure to timely fix the hole in the roof. There is your point of leverage. With regard to the air conditioner too, I'd begin to think about moving out and claiming that the landlord's breach of the lease is material. I don't know your state and lease and whether you would have the option of making the repairs yourself and abating the rent. This is more applicable for residential leases but not commercial.
     

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