Tenant Wins

Damage Award Depends on Proof of Amount Lost

May 31, 2008    

Facts: A Nevada tenant rented retail space from the owner. The tenant defaulted on the lease and never opened the store that it had planned to operate. The owner sued the tenant for the lease violation and asked that the trial court award it more than $2.4 million in damages. The trial...

Owner's Bad Faith Entitles Tenant to Rent Rebate

May 31, 2008    

Facts: In 1997, a Vermont tenant signed a 10-year lease for retail space where the tenant opened a natural foods store. The lease required that the tenant meet every applicable code requirement.

The initial renovations that the tenant completed included building a 500-square-foot...

Owner Must Pay Cost of Replacing Parking Lot

April 30, 2008    

Facts: A shopping center owner and a tenant agreed that replacing the center's parking lot was necessary, but disagreed about who should pay for it. The tenant sued, claiming that the owner was responsible for replacing the parking lot.

Decision: A North Carolina court...

Tenant's Excuse for No-Show Prevents Eviction

April 30, 2008    

Facts: An owner sued a tenant for nonpayment of rent, and asked that the court award it back-rent of nearly $13,000 and possession of the leased space. The court awarded the owner the requested relief after the tenant did not appear for the trial. The tenant subsequently asked the court...

Tenant that Waited to Vacate Premises Not 'Constructively Evicted'

March 31, 2008    

Facts: In 2002, a tenant approached the owner about subletting two of its floors to a second tenant. Instead, the owner entered into a separate lease with the second tenant and charged less for rent. The primary tenant was required to cover the difference and be responsible for the full...

Failure to Operate Parking Lot Continuously Isn't Lease Violation

March 31, 2008    

Facts: The owner leased a parking lot to a tenant, and both agreed that the tenant would use the lot only for off-airport parking and related uses. Subsequently, the tenant opened up a second lot nearby and focused primarily on its operations. Eventually, the tenant moved all of its...

Owner May Be Liable for Slip-and-Fall

February 1, 2008    

Facts: An employee of a tenant in the owner's shopping center sustained injuries from a slip-and-fall in the center's parking lot while taking trash to the Dumpster. The employee's husband visited the parking lot the next day and found loose gravel in the area. The owner...

Tenant Not Required to Allow Political Solicitation

February 1, 2008    

Facts: A group of political campaign workers were collecting voter signatures near the entrances of three stores in a shopping center, when store officials asked them to leave the premises. The stores all had specific policies regulating solicitation of customers.

The campaign...

Tenant Can Remove Trade Fixtures When Evicted

February 1, 2008    

Facts: A coffee shop tenant entered into a commercial lease with a leasing company. After the tenant moved in, it made numerous structural improvements, including a 22-foot serving bar. The bar top was built with wood given to the tenant by the leasing company in exchange for a promise...

Owner Can't Collect Damages Beyond Property's Fair Market Value

January 1, 2008    

Facts: An owner sued two tenants for defaulting on their commercial leases. The owner attempted to collect damages that would have been more than the fair market value of the properties. A Georgia trial court ruled in favor of the tenants, and the owner appealed.

Decision: A...

Assignment Does Not Eliminate Options

July 31, 2007    

Facts: An owner and tenant entered into a 20-year lease that included four lease extension options, each for five years. The owner assigned his interest in the lease to a new owner—that is, gave the new owner all of its rights in the lease. The tenant assigned the 20-year base lease...

Owner Must Inspect After Eviction

July 31, 2007    

Facts: A tenant restaurant defaulted on its lease by operating an after-hours dance club and by failing to pay its rent. The owner sued to evict the restaurant and won, but a week and a half after the eviction judgment was made, the restaurant was still operating, and a customer slipped...