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Maverick
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6391
Experience:  20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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I had a commercial lease agreement with a business partner

Customer Question

I had a commercial lease agreement with a business partner in 2005 for three y tear with a option, My landlord let my business partner out to rent another building in 2007 and I remained, he never gave me a new lease. I assumed I was now month to month, I recently gave him his 30 day notice and moved out june 10th at wich he is now mad at me and trying to sue me for late fees all the way back to 2013. he says any payment over 3 days is a 10percent late fee. he has never asked for a late fee in 7 years, he actually offered me a rent reduction when i submitted my notice and wanted me to sign a new lease. can he do this ? he is a attorney
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

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Without reading the terms of the lease itself, it is hard to give a definitive response. However, based on what you are saying, it appears that as of 2008, if you did not exercise a renewal option, you were on a month to month basis. As far as the late fees, this definitely seems odd. The lease may contain a clause that says that his failure to impose a late fee does not waive his right to do so in the future; but that is different than trying to go back 7 years to collect old late fees that he never timely imposed.

One common defense used against these tactics is that of "laches". Law.com defines that term as follows: "the legal doctrine that a legal right or claim will not be enforced or allowed if a long delay in asserting the right or claim has prejudiced the adverse party (hurt the opponent) as a sort of "legal ambush." Another defense is "waiver": "the intentional and voluntary giving up of something, such as a right, either by an express statement or by conduct (such as not enforcing a right)."

So, you should be able to defend against his actions on these two grounds.

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