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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 36219
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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We rent an office building in California and there was a

Customer Question

We rent an office building in California and there was a flood, the governing association was insured for $5000 and the repairs cost $45,000. The owner that we lease from wants us to pay for part of the damage, the carpet, our insurance does not cover carpet. Today he told me that he does not have insurance on his suite because he thought that we would. Can we break this lease for this reason?
JA: Does this involve a written or oral agreement? Is it a month-to-month lease or fixed term?
Customer: We are 3 1/2 years into a five year lease. This is the 2nd flood in the last 2 years.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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What was the source of the flood?

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Was it something that you were responsible for?

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Is the property uninhabitable or unusable due to the flooding?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
It was a sump pump failure. We were not even aware that there was a sump pump until the flood. He has since informed us that there is also a natural sprin under the building.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We were out of the building for over 4 weeks.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We did pay rent for the time the suite was unusable.
We are very concerned that he does not carry any insurance at all.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Ok, then you are under zero legal obligation to pay for anything here.. if the landlord didn't have adequate insurance to cover any losses, that is his problem and if you suffered damages, it would actually give you legal grounds to sue him...

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But if the property is not usable in its present condition, he is in breach for failing to provide a habitable property as required under the lease contract and you would be fully within your rights to terminate the tenancy, move out, and then sue him for your moving costs and a refund of any rent paid while it wasn't usable unless he put you up in another building that you could use.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We are back in the building and want out because of him, can we still terminate?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He also comes and goes without notification, really tired of his antics.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Are you still there?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Ok, then no, if he has put you back in possession, that changes things because he has cured his breach. So with that being the case, your recourse here is to sue him for the rent that you paid when you were displaced unless he provided an alternate building.

Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

But you are still not liable to pay for any damages that he sustained and couldn't pay for because he has no insurance.

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The time to break the lease would have been while you were displaced as he would have been in breach of contract then..

Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

As for him entering, you can put him on notice that you require at least 24 hours notice before any entry or you will consider that a violation of the lease and terminate based on his violating your right to "sole use and possession".

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
we just didn't know about the spring or lack of insurance until after we moved back in. He did not provide another office and as a medical office we lost income.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We were able to move some patients to our other office, but not all.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Ok, then you can definitely sue him for any rent you paid while displaced and for any provable lost income during that period.

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But if the place is back to usable, then you wouldn't have any grounds to break the lease now, just to sue for damages.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Maybe a threat of legal action will be reason enough to let us of the lease.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

That could very well work... If you were suing for XX thousand for a refund of rent, any property damages, and lost business income due to the landlord's breach, he might very well agree to just get rid of you to keep from getting sued..

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thanks

Barrister

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