Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer. Unfortunately, as a commercial tenant there are very few protections for you in this type of business. While it is always possible to draft some claim, the odds of success here are likely small. From your posting of the facts, it is likely that your best claim will come from a "fraudulent concealment" claim or something similar. This would require that (1) the landlord knew a fact that was material to the store ("gunplay"), and did not tell you (2) the landlord either had an obligation to tell you (almost never the case in commercial leasing), or you asked the landlord and he did not answer, or you asked something very similar; (3) you entered the contract based on the non-disclosure; and (4) suffered harm - the closing of the restaurant.
The other place to check for a viable cause of action is your lease agreement. A careful review of the terms may give you other rights available under the lease that will assist you in getting some of your money back, or at least releasing you from the agreement without any further obligation.
I hope that my answer was of assistance to you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you for your business!
i asked what the problems were with the last tenant does that qualify?
Usually that would be sufficient. (Remember, this is fact based, so I cannot guarantee or promise anything, but yes, asking about the issues faced with the last tenant is usually a good question, and an answer that does not include "active gunplay" would seem to qualify for non-disclosure).
Remember, this is considered an "intentional tort" which means that if you bring the case and prevail against the landlord you will not only be entitled to compensatory damages (loss of revenue etc.), but also punitive damages or compensation for the landlord's bad conduct.
what should i do to proceed?
If you are completely unable to deal with this with your landlord (either by yourself or with an attorney). You can file a lawsuit in civil court to terminate the lease (declaratory relief), for compensatory damages (breach of contract), and both compensatory and punitive damages (intentional misrepresentation).
I would recommend retaining a civil litigation attorney if possible, that will assist you in working through the Court system more efficiently and make the most out of your claim. If you would rather work on your own, you may do so using the court self help desk (many courts have one), the county law library, or online resources (such as this one) to assist you.
so I should consult an attorney in my area?
Usually, if you are interested in settling in some fashion, a "pre-litigation demand letter" is sent to the other side, giving your demand, a threat of filing a lawsuit, and a specific date that you will do so on.
better coming from an attorney than from me?
You can find an attorney either through your local bar association (try online searches for your city/county), or you can use Martindale Hubble or AVVO.
thanks , what do you think my chances are? if you had to guess?
Those letters are usually more effective coming from counsel (the threat of litigation is higher), but this is a cost/benefit analysis for you.
I cannot do that through this forum (this really is fact specific). But when you ask a landlord about a former tenant, and are not told of significant law enforcement related issues, that seems to be a material fact.
thanks i will give it a shot . no pun intended
I wish you the best of luck. (That is disappointing, I would have enjoyed the pun).
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).