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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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I rented a space in sole purpose of being a perfoemance

Customer Question

Customer: hi, i rented a space in sole purpose of being a perfoemance space. the landlord knew this but is now evicting me saying that building is not zoned for my business. can i sue
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: my landlord is giving me to end of month to leave. I am not allowed to have shows in the space so have effectively lost my business. He said that the building is not zoned for them and as such illegal, yet he knew what my business was from get go
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am very sorry to learn of this situation. Unfortunately as this problem is due to zoning (something outside of the landlord's control, and that is public knowledge (the tenant has access to zoning rules prior to entering the lease contract as they are public record)), this would fall under the doctrine of "frustration of purpose".

If you can show that the landlord KNEW that the property was incompatible with the intended purpose and still leased the space to you (as opposed to he found out later - which appears to be the case from the way you posted your question), then you may have a claim for "fraud in the inducement" - in which one party withholds or misrepresents a material fact inducing the other party to enter into a contract. But you must prove both that the landlord knew the fact prior to engaging in the contract, and intended you rely on that (usually these two elements are proven together).

Depending on the specific facts of your case, you may have a cause of action, but proving fraud is difficult, and it would be fact specific on what the landlord knew at the time of the lease (as opposed to later discovering).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is making me sign a from relinquishing my lease. He has prevented me practising my business. Once the lease is broken legally, can the garentor be taken to court for back rent
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.


But given the circumstances, you can negotiate for a release of liability in which the landlord waives any claim for back rent. (This is purely a negotiation tactic - not a legal right).

Make sure to get it in writing.

If you cannot reach a settlement through direct negotiations, try using a mediator - contact your local bar association for referrals. Often a third party neutral can help you reach a reasonable "mutually agreeable resolution" when the two parties are at an impasse.

I cannot advise you via this forum (it is outside the scope of this forum), but I would recommend trying to settle all outstanding issues prior to signing any kind of release.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
his family has owned it for years, it has people living in it when they shouldnt and restaurant downstairs. There is no way he didnt know
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

You can try to use this in negotiations. Again, this is probably a good time to try a mediator (use of a third party is unfortunately an underutilized tool in resolving these kinds of disputes. A mediation is not bound by the scope of the simple dispute in front of a judge, the rules of evidence, etc. and you can try to negotiate a resolution based on practical issues, goodwill, and fairness).

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