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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 110573
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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My brother died May 11 2016. I am the executor. In probate

Customer Question

My brother died May 11 2016. I am the executor. In probate is a small building that houses two apartments and three small offices. Two of the offices were rented in January with a one year lease. They said they were running a spa/massages,
My brother would always install window units in the units in the summer as the building does not have central air. My brother died before it was warm enough to install the units in the two offices that the Spa rented. I just recently got death certificates as he died out of State so had no legal authority to do anything until I had the death certificates They left a note on my brothers home that they needed air as the temperature recently went high. I went to the offices and pointed out that there were two window units there (and showed them to him) as well as a portable unit that was in the closet. He said they are not big enough to cool down the offices. I said for 30 years that is what was used and no one ever complained.
He told me he wanted much larger Units. I explained I was only able to install what will fit in the windows. I offered to mutually end the remainder of his lease and return his security deposits. I explained that because he had changed the open areas of the rooms into several individual massage rooms by makeshift walls and blankets being hung from the drop ceilings that that would affect the air flow.
He opted to end the lease on one of the suites....Suite A and wanted to continue to reside in suite B and is awaiting larger air conditioning units being installed this Saturday. I know he will not be happy with the units as due to the window sizes I will only be able to install 6 or possibly 8 BTU...he wants 20 or 30.
The building is in probate and I am not authorized to make costly changes and would not as the building functioned perfectly with window units for 30 years.
Since he was to mutually terminate his lease in one of the suites I will need to write o new lease as the other lease specified two suites were beinbg rented. I would like to make it a month to month lease as the building is in probate. Please let me know what my legal rights are. The blankets hanging from the ceilings and the makeshift partions seem to me to be a fire hazard.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You were not liable to provide anything more than you have in there. As there is no installed central air, the landlord is not responsible legally for providing air conditioning units. If he wants more, then that is the tenant's issue and if he claims you are in breach, you have the proof that these existing units were sufficient during the time your brother owned the building prior to death and as such their claims are not warranted.
You can only cancel the lease and go to month to month if he agrees to do so in writing. If he has agreed to terminate and enter into a new lease, you can make it month to month if he agrees and if not and he is a bully, I would suggest letting him go. No other landlord would put up with what your brother has done by going and putting in window units every year and then taking them out, that is not mandatory under the law and is only required if the lease says it is.
Also, if they are violating the lease with fire hazards, you need to give them written notice to cease and desist or be evicted for breaching the lease and violating codes.

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