Owner's Construction Did Not Hurt Tenant's Business

June 23, 2009
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A wine store tenant leased space in a building with 29 parking spaces available for its customers. The owner told the tenant it was developing the property next door and that parking for the tenant’s building was going to be modified. During the construction of the building next door, construction workers used the tenant’s parking lot to store materials, park construction vehicles, and place debris. As a result, the tenant was left with only six parking spaces for its customers. When the tenant’s sales dropped, it sued the owner for violating the lease by failing to maintain the building’s parking.

A California appeals court ruled that the tenant had not proved that the owner’s construction had hurt its business. Although the tenant claimed to have provided “overwhelming evidence” that the store’s business had suffered from the loss of parking spaces, the jury could reasonably have concluded that other factors—such as inflation or competition—led to the decline in the tenant’s sales.

n Weber v. Fitzgerald, January 2003