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I am in California. I rented an office space 3 years ago…

Customer Question
Hi, I am in California...
Hi, I am in California. I rented an office space 3 years ago with the contract expires this June. I asked the landlord that I wish to exercise the extension 3 more years which is in the contract but he refused-saying that I have too many students. I run a small art school with daily afternoon classes and on Saturday. At the time we signed the contract 3 years ago the landlord knew the type of business I am in and even installed additional ceiling lights at my request.
I was forced to look for another office space for my school. In the meantime, my landlord demands me to pay for the rent until June. If he find a new tenant, then I have to pay 1/2 of the rent.
My questions are: 1. I thought he has to let me exercise the extension. The contract DOES say it is for general uses but he fully knew what i do, I actually was in the same building but different suite teaching art lessons ( with the same landlord) for 1 year before I signed the 3-year lease.
2. In this case that he refuses to let me stay and I was forced to move out, can I terminate the contract and not have to pay for the rest of the rent ( til June)?
3. The landlord may have to pay for my moving costs?
Thank you so much!
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 14 minutes by:
2/16/2016
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 2 years ago
barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 41,582
Experience: Attorney over 17 years, landlord 26 years
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Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

.

1. I thought he has to let me exercise the extension. The contract DOES say it is for general uses but he fully knew what i do, I actually was in the same building but different suite teaching art lessons ( with the same landlord) for 1 year before I signed the 3-year lease.

.

You are correct here because unless the lease specifically restricts your use, then you are legally allowed to use the property for any type of business that it is zoned for. The fact that he knew what your intended use was also would prevent him from imposing limitations on your use.

.

2. In this case that he refuses to let me stay and I was forced to move out, can I terminate the contract and not have to pay for the rest of the rent ( til June)?

.

From a purely legal perspective, you weren't forced out... the landlord said he wouldn't honor the extension and you then moved out... So you could have stayed and sued him for breach of contract instead of voluntarily moving out when faced with his response to your request to renew.

.

So since you voluntarily moved out, it is technically you who are in breach and if this is a commercial tenancy, the landlord has no legal duty to mitigate his damages and try to find a new tenant.

.

With that said, there is nothing that would prevent you from moving back and then suing the landlord for breach of contract to enforce your lease and renewal options. That is unless you have already entered into a new lease elsewhere.

.

3. The landlord may have to pay for my moving costs?
.

Again...you voluntarily moved when he said he wouldn't honor the renewal. So he isn't obligated to pay for any moving expenses since he didn't legally force you to move out early.

.

With all that said, I think you might have a recourse here to get out of paying any further rent if you refused to pay and then defended any lawsuit brought by the landlord under the legal theory of "anticipatory breach" where you argue the the landlord essentially breached the contract by refusing to renew forcing you to look elsewhere for a new rental..

.

This is kind of a weak argument simply because you weren't' forced to move out before the current lease term ended..

.

I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

.

.

thanks

Barrister

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