Tenant Wins

Tenant Didn't Have to Pay Expenses for Out-of-State Surveyor

September 26, 2014    

Facts: A bookstore tenant filed for bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy proceedings regarding whether its lease would be rejected or assumed, the owner sent the tenant a notice requesting access to the tenant’s space to perform an “as-built” survey of the space...

Tenant Off Hook for Common Area Slip-and-Fall

August 25, 2014    

Facts: Both a tenant and owner of office space were sued by the widow of a visitor to the building who slipped and fell on a wet surface in the vestibule and died from his injuries. The tenant and owner each asked a trial court for a judgment in its favor without a trial. The...

Lease Guaranty Not Enforceable Without Signature of Guarantor

July 31, 2014    

Facts: After an office tenant held over its space past its lease term and stopped paying rent, the owner sued the tenant’s president in his personal capacity, asserting that he was a guarantor of the lease and thus was responsible for paying the rent when the tenant...

Lease Excuses Tenant from Liability for Fire

June 27, 2014    

Facts: A dry cleaning business in a shopping center incorrectly installed commercial dryers in its space without using a professionally trained installer. It vented the dryers into the attic instead of to the building’s exterior. The shoddy installation later caused a fire...

Ambiguous Lease Interpreted Against Drafter

June 27, 2014    

Facts: An office tenant’s lease contained two conflicting provisions regarding the time frame in which the owner was required to fix damage to the tenant’s space. After a roof collapse led to flooding and damage that forced the tenant out of its space temporarily,...

Default Judgment Set Aside for Tenant’s ‘Excusable Neglect’

May 30, 2014    

Facts: A mall owner sued a tenant for allegedly breaching its lease, asking for more than $190,000 in accelerated rent and other fees. After the tenant didn’t respond to the litigation, a trial court entered a default judgment against it. The tenant later asked the court...

Lease Required Owner to Make Major Repairs to Property

April 25, 2014    

Facts: A tenant that operated a printing business signed a 15-year lease for space. The owner of the building later demanded that the tenant replace the aging heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system and parking lot. The tenant claimed that was the owner’s responsibility...

Guarantor, Not Tenant, on Hook for Lease Obligations

April 25, 2014    

Facts: A guarantor promised to fulfill the lease obligations of a restaurant tenant if the tenant breached the lease. It signed a “good guy” unconditional guaranty. The tenant stopped paying rent because it claimed its sales had declined because scaffolding built in...

Owner Can't Sue for Future Rent Without Acceleration Clause

March 31, 2014    

Facts: After a flood damaged its store in a strip mall, a sporting goods tenant announced that it would be closing its store and moving out. The tenant informed the owner that it was no longer able to get and maintain adequate insurance as required by the lease. The tenant was...

Owner Liable for Shopper’s Injuries Outside Tenant’s Store

December 20, 2013    

Facts: A shopper was hit by a motorist on the sidewalk outside of a shopping center tenant’s store. The shopper sued the center’s owner and the tenant. The owner and the tenant each asked a trial court for a judgment in its favor without a trial. Each said that the...

Use of Specific Tenant’s Name Binding on Owner

December 20, 2013    

Facts: A shopping center owner and a women’s clothing store signed a lease for space next to a large national bookstore. The lease’s cotenancy provision allowed the tenant to abate its minimum monthly rent if the bookstore stopped operating. After several years, the...

Tenant Not Required to Pay Owner’s Attorney’s Fees

November 26, 2013    

Facts: A supermarket tenant signed a 25-year lease with the owner of a shopping center. Under the lease, the tenant was to pay base rent plus additional rent, which included items like its pro rata share of taxes for the center. Like some of the other tenants in the center, the...