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William B. Esq.
William B. Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2959
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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i need to know if I have a case. A few months ago I rented

Resolved Question:

i need to know if I have a case. A few months ago I rented a turnkey rest and was not told all of the history of the former restaurant. there was gunplay and lots of fights , as a result of a fight and gunplay in the parking lot we were unable to continue in business. the business was slow because of the reputation of the old business and when we had an incident I decided to close . do I have any recourse?the landlord did not disclose the gun fights they had ,I found out after I opened from customers. I would have never rented the place if I knew about the gunplay I have seen that before and you can't recover from it.
can I sue the landlord for nondisclosure?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

William B. Esq. :

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.

William B. Esq. :

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!

Customer:

i asked what the problems were with the last tenant does that qualify?

William B. Esq. :

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.

Customer:

what should i do to proceed?

William B. Esq. :

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).

William B. Esq. :

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.

Customer:

so I should consult an attorney in my area?

William B. Esq. :

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.

Customer:

better coming from an attorney than from me?

William B. Esq. :

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.

Customer:

thanks , what do you think my chances are? if you had to guess?

William B. Esq. :

Those letters are usually more effective coming from counsel (the threat of litigation is higher), but this is a cost/benefit analysis for you.

William B. Esq. :

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.

Customer:

thanks i will give it a shot . no pun intended

William B. Esq. :

I wish you the best of luck. (That is disappointing, I would have enjoyed the pun).

William B. Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2959
Experience: Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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