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Loren, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31415
Experience:  30 years of real estate practice experience.
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I am leasing a commercial space and there is a recurring

Customer Question

I am leasing a commercial space and there is a recurring smell of sewage. My lease expired in December and I have been paying on a month to month bases. I have been in the space for over a year and the landlord keeps saying that he will fix the problem but hasn't. I spent thousands of dollars to unfit the space and I am losing customers because of the horrible smell which sometimes makes my clients sick. What can I do?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.

Good morning. Does anyone know or think they know the source of the noisome problem?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The problem is sewage smell not noise. The landlord said that the he thought the problem was from the grease trap that he uses in the adjacent space which is a restaurant
Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.

Is there a written lease? Does it address the landlord's responsibility for maintenance of the sewers or plumbing?

Has the restaurant been contacted or their setup inspected?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The lease has expired but the original lease doesn't specify anything about the grease trap or the smell. There has not been an inspection of the smell or the restaurant. The owner of the building also owns the restaurant. We asked about the smell before signing the original lease because we had heard that there were sewage problems. We were assured that the problem had been taken care of by the owner
Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.

Did you wish to stay in the current location or find a new place to go?

Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.

Are you still online with me?

Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.

You are permitted, as a month to month tenant, to terminate the tenancy by giving at least 7 days written notice before the next rent payment is due.

If you wish to force the maintenance then you have a couple of options.

First, you can sue the landlord for breaching the tenancy by not providing maintenance to correct an issue, not you r fault, which makes the space unusable..

You can also, if the smell is traced to the restaurant, file a suit against the restaurant for nuisance and be awarded damages for the loss of the use and enjoyment of the leased premises.

You are not required to have an attorney to pursue either of these options, but, if you go to court, it is strongly recommended. If you need assistance finding local counsel try Martindale Hubble (site rules prohibit us from referring specific attorneys) . Many attorneys themselves use this site to locate attorneys outside their jurisdiction or expertise:

It is a huge worldwide database searchable by location and specialty. The attorneys are all peer rated. So, they represent the top of the profession.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I want to stay. I have invested a lot of money in this location and it would be a financial burden to leave
Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.

Then, if the landlord will not voluntarily make repairs you will need to sue.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Should I continue to pay rent
Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.

No. If you stop while retaining possession they will be able to evict for nonpayment.

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