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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Experience:  Attorney
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Myself and the other tenants in my building are having an

Customer Question

myself and the other tenants in my building are having an issue about common share expenses. We were recently presented with a 12k bill for painting the outside of the building. We were not informed about the painting prior to the day it started, the lease
is a bit confusing as to painting, in one part it says common share expenses include painting, in another it says: 5.5 Landlord's Obligation. It is intended by the parties hereto that Landlord at its cost shall maintain in good condition the structural parts
of the building, the roof, and exterior walls. Trying to figure out what to do!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Is this a condominium, or an apartment building where you're all renting from the same landlord? What state is the property located in?

Also, do you have the language about the "common share expenses" in the lease?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
this is a commercial business space in california, this is what the lease says:
5. MAINTENANCE, REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS.5.5 Landlord's Obligation. It is intended by the parties hereto that Landlord at its cost shall maintain in good condition the structural parts of the building, the roof, and exterior walls. Tenant waives and releases its rights, including, its rights to make repairs at Landlord’s expense, under California Civil Code, Sections 1941-1942 or any similar law, statute, or ordinance now or hereafter in effect.9.2 Common Area Operating Expenses.A) Common area operating expenses are defined, for the purposes of this Lease, as all costs incurred by Landlord relating to the ownership and operation of the common area at 351-9th Street, San Francisco, CA, (The Building )including, but not limited to the following:(i) The operation, repair and maintenance, in neat, clean, good order and condition of the following:(a) The common areas and common area improvements, including parking areas, loading and unloading areas, trash areas, roadways, parkways, walkways, driveways, landscaped areas, bumpers, irrigation systems, common area lighting facilities, fences and gates, elevators, roofs, and roof drainage systems.
(b) Exterior signs and any tenant directories.(c) Any fire sprinkler systems.(ii) The cost of water, gas, electricity and telephone to service the common areas and any utilities not separately metered.(iii) Trash disposal, pest control services, property management, security services, owner’s association dues and fees, the cost to repaint the exterior of any structures and the cost of any environmental inspections.(iv) Reserves set aside for maintenance and repair of common areas and common area equipment.
(v) Any increase above the Base Real Property Taxes.
(vi) Any Insurance Cost Increase.
(vii) Any deductible portion of an insured loss concerning the Building or the common areas.
(viii) Auditors’, accountants’ and attorneys’ fees and costs related to the operation, maintenance, repair and replacement of the Building.
(ix) Any other services to be provided by Landlord that are stated in this Lease to be a Common Area Operating Expenses.
(B) Tenants’ share of common area operating expenses is payable monthly. Each month, Landlord shall deliver to Tenants the amount of such payments based on statements showing Tenant’s share of the actual common area operating expenditures.(C) Common Area Expenses shall not include the cost of replacing equipment or capital components such as the roof, foundations, exterior walls or Common Area capital improvements, such as parking lot paving, elevators, fences that have a useful life for accounting purposes of 5 years or more.(D) Common Area Operating Expenses shall not include any expenses paid by any tenant directly to third parties, or as to which Landlord is otherwise reimbursed by any third party, other tenant, or insurance proceeds.9.3 Tenant shall reimburse Landlord one 6% of Common Share Expenses each month. Landlord shall provide records of all related statements to Tenant. Tenant shall reimburse Landlord on a monthly basis the sum of $0 for water service and $0 for garbage service and other utilities and services which are not separately metered to the premises, within ten (10) days after Tenant receives an invoice from Landlord. The cost of furnishing utilities and services to the Premises, which are not specifically set out in this paragraph, shall be based upon an equitable proration of the total cost of utilities and services furnished for the building and other improvements in which the Premises are located.So there seems to be some contradictory language, in one part it says that the landlord is responsible for exterior walls, but in another it says we are responsible for painting
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

The section that you pasted specifically defines the cost of repainting the exterior of the building as a common expense. For that reason, I'm sorry to say, the tenants will have to pay their share of the cost, as required by the lease. It doesn't say in there that the landlord needs to seek tenant approval for costs in advance - only that the amount due must be served on the tenant each month. The landlord is only obliged to maintain the structural parts of the building, but painting is cosmetic, not structural. I'm sorry to say, I don't see anything in the lease that would allow the tenants to avoid paying for the painting when the lease says it's a shared expense.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand.

Good luck.

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