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Ask Asad Rahman Your Own Question
Asad Rahman
Asad Rahman, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1729
Experience:  Practicing Attorney with 10 years experience
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I started a discount community retail store in Feb 2015 in

Customer Question

I started a discount community retail store in Feb 2015 in Montana. The landlord wanted a 2 year lease at 2800/mo. I told him i wasn't sure how my business would do and asked if it did poorly if I could get out of the lease and he said that would be fine. When the lease was drawn up, that clause was not in there and I didn't notice. The lease was for 2 years, however, did not have beginning and end dates in the contract. In October 2015, I could no longer carry my expenses and high rent, so I my choices were close shop or find a new location with lower rent. I gave notice to vacate. I moved to a neighboring town where my rent was only $600.00. He is now suing me in court for over 30K in lease payments.
My landlord made no attempt for the first two months after being given my notice to vacate, to rerent the location. After two months, he put two small FOR RENT signs in the windows, and a month later put the building up for sale with a large Real Estate Sign in the front, which I was informed by a realtor, significantly reduces a buildings rentability.
Do I have any valid defenses in this case based on the information provided?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 6 months ago.
Unfortunately you do not have a strong defense to avoid some of the unpaid rent but they had a duty to mitigate their damages so that failure to do that would entitle you to some reduction owed. Not having an end and start date might be enough to argue that this was a monthly tenancy so you were within your rigjts to terminate with 30 days notice.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It does say 2 year lease but lacks the start and end dates
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 6 months ago.
The presumed start date is when you both signed but it is an argument worth making. You could also say that you were induced into the lease fraudulently when they said they would release you if business was bad.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
But then I did sign a contract which pretty much makes me assume that liability correct?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Will the financial strength of my business play a part? I net nearly nothing as I opened this as a benefit for a low income community and I barely pay my bills with it. I'm even on public assistance
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 6 months ago.
but oral evidence is admissible when claiming fraud. None of these are the strongest arguments but may be enough to get them to settle. I am sure they made you a personal guarantor on the lease so your business performance is not a factor.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No the lease is between the landlord and my LLC. I'm not personally a guarantor. I signed the contract on behalf of my llc.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 6 months ago.
That is good so you do not have personal liability.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I'm worried about getting a judgment that my business nor I can financially manage.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 6 months ago.
That is good so you do not have personal liability.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 6 months ago.
You need to file the defenses I mentioned and then try to negotiate a settlement with a payment plan.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 6 months ago.
If you have any additional questions just let me know otherwise a positive rating is appreciated.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 6 months ago.
If you have any additional questions just let me know otherwise a positive rating is appreciated.

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