Is Owner Under Duty to Provide Records When Lease Is Silent?

Q: My lease gives me the option to renew after three years at the same rate plus applicable taxes. To decide whether to exercise the option, I need to know the amount of taxes I’ll be required to pay. But the owner of my building wouldn’t give me the tax information; he said that he didn’t have to share that information with me. I had to exercise the option 90 days before the end of the lease term. After the 90 days passed, I tried to take advantage of the option anyway. The owner refused and is evicting me. Can he do this?

A: By refusing to supply you with the requested information, the owner has violated an implied duty to cooperate with you, the tenant. If the lease had expressly stated that the owner wasn’t responsible for furnishing the requested information, the owner would have been allowed to withhold that information. But it sounds like your lease was silent on that issue. Therefore, the owner should have supplied the requested information to you, which would have allowed you to make an informed decision about whether to exercise the renewal option.


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