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Steinlaw, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 1811
Experience:  Consumer law attorney, author of California Debt Blog, top foreclosure attorney
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I signed a lease four months ago to build out a commissary

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I signed a lease four months ago to build out a commissary kitchen/restaurant. The landlord refused to allow me to inspect the place for air conditioning, plumbing and electric. He assured me it was a new building and everything was in good working order and that I had plenty of electricity and ten tons AC. He assured me if everything was not as represented he would take care of it.
The lease said that verbal representations were not binding.
I paid deposits etc and had electricity and Ac turned on the discovered that the air conditioner did not work and that furthermore it was only 5-7 tons not the 10 tons represented. I sent a letter refusing to take possession and landlord repaired AC and agreed to give me an additional 5 ton unit and $2300 towards the installation with the agreement I had three months to install or lose the additional unit.
I got estimates from AC and electricians to install the unit and was told the AC unit did not have the correct rating to be legally permitted but the the AC company (who does lots of work for landlord) would put it in anyway without a permit. His intention was to permit it as a replacement unit. I did not like this idea but went along with it. I got the electrician out and they said no problem $500 and we will install electric for AC.
I give both companies the OK to start the work. Both companies say they need to come back out and look at the job. Both come up with new estimates but this takes lots of time and both have existing relationships with landlord. Kirby Electric had done all the existing work for the landlord and the previous tenant. M & R Air conditioning appears to do considerable work for landlord.

Meanwhile, I engage a contractor to do the build out and it is agreed that since I have all this worked out with these two companies we will leave this out of contract and I will have this done separately. The contractor fails to start the job citing problems with the permit and the city requiring subcontractor information and the subs must be licensed etc. He also cites penalties for starting job without permit. I was happy because I never agreed for him to start the job without a permit and I never dreamed he would not use licensed subs. I hear horror stories about what happens if work is done without permit.
I call the landlord and let him know that I am unhappy with the fact that he gave me an ac unit that is not legal and that I have no idea if this plan is going to work and that want him to extend my reduced rent period for another month while this is worked out.

He claims that he had no idea that unit wasn't legal. And, that he will replace unit with a legal unit after I sign contracts and give deposits to electrician and AC companies and after the electrical work is done. I asked for this in writing but I never received it. He says he faxed it but my fax machine was not working that day and I asked him to mail or email which he refused. Meanwhile time expired on his agreement to add 5 ton unit and help with cost of installation.

Now Kirby Electric says I don't have enough electricity and they will have to bring more power into the unit for a cost of $12,000.

Meanwhile existing AC units have been repaired four times since I signed lease. It has been broken for a week now. Landlord says he will take care of when new unit is installed. I say I am happy to move forward when existing units are repaired. The landlord told me last time it broke that it had a leak and I was aware that they did not fix the leak b/c they were in and out in a few minutes so I knew they had recharged the refrigerate. They have done this several times and I spoke with the landlord about this being illegal and that leak must be fixed.
Now it appears the leak has led to a more serious problem but I am told that the part that is leaking is under warranty and must be ordered and that it will be another week before it is repaired.

I informed landlord that we were processing 1000 lbs of mangoes and that they are going bad b/c of how hot the unit is and that the freezer is not working properly because building is so hot. He says he will call for repair. I am to receive another shipment of mangoes tomorrow.

Lease does not specify who is responsible for AC although it seems that from what he verbally represented and what the air conditioning company says that landlord takes care of repairs as long as tenant is not responsible for problem.

I paid an attorney who represented himself to be a specialist in commercial leases to review contract and advise before signing. Apparently, attorney missed air conditioning issues and inspection issues.

Now the addendum to my contract giving me a new 5 ton unit to make-up for the fact that he misrepresented the building to have 10 tons of Ac has expired. I have asked for an extension but he has not responded.

What is the best course of action for me take?
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Steinlaw :

I am sorry you are going through this. your best court of action is probably against the attorney for malpractice! But before you do that, you should hire a new attorney to see if he can negotiate with the landlord to get this fixed for you.

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