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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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I recently signed a commercial tenant lease as the

Customer Question

I recently signed a commercial tenant lease as the tenant. My commencement date is March 1, 2016. I began building improvements on March 22, but on that day my contractor informed me that water was leaking and that they had to stop work.
To make a long story short, it ends up that the tenant above me has a water leak. The have attempted to fix the leak 4 times. All 4 times they did not use a licensed plumber, just a handyman. The leaks have delayed my contractor maybe a week all told.
They are now on their fifth attempt to fix the leak. I am most likely rushed if not delayed in opening May 1. My lease at my current location ends April 30 so I really need to have my new location ready by May 1.
At this point I want to terminate my lease and get my money back including the money I spent on improvements.
Do I have any recourse?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
What does the lease say are your options for damages caused by other tenants?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Loren,When I looked at the lease, it does not seem to mention damage caused by other tenants.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
What is the landlord's involvement in the repairs? Have you expressed your desire to terminate to the landlord? Does the lease contain a termination provision for you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So I first just wanted it fixed. But now on to the 5th attempt I'm getting tired of the situation.I expressed my desire to the property manager. He said that I could not terminate the lease. I asked him if he could ask the landlord. He said he would not and that he could make the decision for the landlord.I do not think the lease contains a provision like this except that if I did not take occupancy within 18 months because of the landlord then I can terminate the lease
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I prefer not to continue to spend money on this. I've already sunk too much on this new space.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The property manager was involved in the repair attempts by the way. Not directly repairing it, but by informing the tenant above me what the leak problem was.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Unfortunately, you are bound by the terms of the lease. Unless the lease contains a termination provision in your favor, which would be unusual, you remedies are limited to suing the tenant with the leak, the property manager, and if the leak is the landlord's responsibility, suing the landlord.That does not mean that a court would not allow you to terminate, it just means you can not exercise it unilaterally. Additionally, if you prevail, the court would award you any damages proximately caused by the leak and delays.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Also, you should still try to contact the landlord directly.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Are you still online with me?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,I should have realized that this wasn't going to be a good place for a solution. I just wasted $50 on this site.I already knew that I'm governed by the lease, but was hoping for something to help me otherwise.I realize that you don't have the lease and have not read it. I was hoping that there was some CA law in the books already pertaining to my situation that I would not be aware of.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
I have been representing shopping center owners and tenants for over 30 yrs. Tenancies are contractual in nature. Unless you negotiated a right to terminate the lease, you are limited to remedies for breach available in the lease. There is no magic statute to create a remedy out of a contract which does not contain one.You remedy is to aggressively protect your rights by suing the tenant and landlord and management company. You may be able to leverage a termination, but it is not unilaterally available without going to court or getting the consent of the landlord.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not necessarily a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.