Starting Jan. 1st of this year, I leased 5 parking spaces from a landlord to place and operate a food truck. The lease
agreement was for 1 year. After 4 months of operation I decided that due to a number of unfortunate circumstances, I would have to put the truck up for sale. So, not wanting to continue to pay $650.00 per month (the amount of the monthly lease) I informed the landlord or property owner that I was going to have to break the lease, and that I needed to move the truck and that I understood if he wanted to kept my security deposit of $650.00. The landlord then informed me that I still would owe him $2500.00 which represented the amount for what it had cost him for removing the snow from the parking lot during last winter. Some background: There are 4 stores or businesses in this plaza that rent from the same landlord. I assume that the way the landlord figured out what those monthly rents are each year, is to include all expenses , repairs utilities, etc as well as the yearly cost of snow removal and divide it equally among his tenets. Since I became his 5th tenet, the landlord figured that 1/5th of the cost of snow removal was my responsibility and so he factored that in and determined that my monthly rent should be $650.00 per month. I have read and re-read the lease agreement we both signed and I see no provision or addendum that specifically says that if I were to break the lease agreement that I'd still owe the landlord for 1/5 of the yearly snow removal fee. The truck was promptly removed from the lot and all improvements were removed as well which included a 12 ft. utility pole that I had paid for and installed to provide electrical power to the truck during it's operation. When I removed the truck, I left the 5 parking parking spaces just as I had originally found them. The landlord through text messages and emails is now threatening me. I will copy and paste them here:
1st email May 12th:
Here is a follow up to my text from last week.
You have paid 4 months of a 12 month lease, plus a security deposit equal to 1 months rent.
Your lease was based on renting 5 parking spaces at $50/space equals $250/mo.
The added estimated snow removal cost was $5,000, I rounded that number to $4,800 and divided by 12 months which equals $400/month.
Total monthly rent equals $650/month.
My actual added snow removal bill was $6,380.
You have paid 4 x $400 equals $1,600, plus the security deposit of $650 equals $2,250.
$4,800 minus $2,250 equals $2,550.
Please forward a check for $2,550 and I will send you a letter releasing you from the balance of the lease.
2nd email July 14th
Before I create a big lawyer bill that I will generate chasing you for money - could we get this closed.
Also the pole needs to be removed in the parking lot.
BTW, the utility pole was removed 3 weeks ago, but I guess the landlord hasn't bothered to drive by and see this.
So, my question is this: 1. Am I legally bound to pay the landlord for snow removal? 2. How do I go about defending myself against this landlord?
I'd be happy to scan and send you the 5 page lease agreement if that would help