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Stuart Alan Heller

Stuart Heller’s Answers

97 total


  • Can a landlord unreasonably withhold an assignment or transfer of a commercial lease?

    Is it possible for a landlord to unreasonably withhold us from assigning or transfering a commercial lease? I will also add this started as a month to month rental agreement and we updated to add a 2 yr landlord guarantee as well as a some lan...

    Stuart’s Answer

    Your lease will control. Unless it say the landlord cannot unreasonably withold approval to a requested assignment then the landlord my refuse such approval.

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  • Landlord let's me sublet - is house exterior upkeep his responsibility?

    Having trouble filling rooms in house my landlord lets me sublet because the front of the house around entry and elsewhere is falling off! The wood of siding shows significantly as well! Is it the landlords responsibility to maintain the exterior ...

    Stuart’s Answer

    Your lease should control who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the exterior of the building. Generally it is the landlord's responsibility but the lease provisions, if any, would control. Unless your lease provides otherwise you can't withhold rent based on this problem.

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  • Liability around fallen trees

    A storm broke many large branches from my neighbours tree which broke and fell on both our properties. The neighbour removed all the branches on his property, but left everything that fell on mine. He did not want to help or discuss the matter. ...

    Stuart’s Answer

    The case of Lewis v. Krussel, 101 Wn.App. 178, 2 P.3d 486 (Wash.App. Div. 2 2000)
    suggests that your neighbor could be liable for any resulting damage if he/she knew of defects in the tree(s). I agree that retaining an attorney and giving notice to your neighbor is a good idea.

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  • I signed a lease and the landlord is being slow/flaky to sign and return it. Can I break the lease?

    I recently signed a lease for a new apartment, and the landlord(LL) is being very slow to respond and return to us a signed lease. Additionally, they mentioned verbally that they're contemplating adding an amendment to the lease, which would requi...

    Stuart’s Answer

    The 10 day notice requirement does not appear to apply to the requirement for providing you with a copy of the lease. Otherwise I agree with Mr. Kelly. Also, unless the lease you signed provides otherwise you have the right to withdraw your offer to lease the premises at any time before the landlord accepts it. Your signature on the lease makes it your offer to lease. Be sure to withdraw your offer by written notice to the landlord, perhaps by certified mail so that you have a record of its receipt.

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  • I recently signed a lease at an apartment in which I am allergic to the carpet shampoo. How do I avoid the lease termination fee

    I have an itchy throat and eyes from the carpet shampoo and the other cleaning agents used to clean my new aparment and I want to move. Thank you.

    Stuart’s Answer

    I agree that your landlord may let you out of the lease but if that doesn't work you might try some of the following. You might see if the landlord would let you move to another apartment where that shampoo and those cleaning agents have not been used. If that doesn't work you might see if the vapors from the shampoo and cleaning agents can be greatly reduced or eliminated by thorough ventilation of the apartment for a few days, cleaning with other substances, or perhaps replacing the carpet. You could try to find out how long those vapors are likely to last if you do nothing. You might also try to find a tenant acceptable to the landlord to take your place and if all else fails see if you can negotiate a termination fee acceptable to both of you. By the way, generally you have to move out first before you can use non-habitability ("constructive eviction") as a defense to any legal action the landlord may bring against you for breaking the lease.

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  • Why is the association responsible for the subcontractor's fees when we paid the contractor in full?

    We had work done to our condo building. We paid the contractor in full for their services. Apparently, the contractor did not pay their subcontractor and now the sub has put a lien against our building. We know that the subcontractor is currentl...

    Stuart’s Answer

    WA law permits those who improve property to file liens against the property if they are not paid. Usually construction contracts require the general contractor to obtain lien releases from its subcontractors and present them to the property owner as a condition of payment. Check to see if that was done. If so the releases should be recorded to negate the recorded liens; an attorney can help you with that. If it wasn't done then you should have an attorney review your case to see if the subcontractors liens were properly obtained, or if there is some other way to resolve your problem.

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  • Can a nonprofit (24 03 RCW) with no members(Bylaws) charge membership fees?

    Is there any limitations or restrictions? Thank you!

    Stuart’s Answer

    The statute states "Not for profit corporation" or "nonprofit corporation" means a corporation no part of the income of which is distributable to its members, directors or officers. There is no limitation on the fees it can charge provided that no part of its income is distributable to its members, directors or officers, the corporation has an acceptable purpose (see RCW 24.03.015), and so doing does not conflict with its articles of incorporation and bylaws. However if in accordance with its articles of incorporation and/or bylaws it has no members it would be better to designate the fee as a participating supporter fee or the like rather than a membership fee, bearing in mind that the corporation must be managed by its directors.

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  • Company president drained the bank account before resigning for our non profit corp. can i get the money back?

    my name is nowhere on the business, but on the joint bank account. The president was never involved in the corp, only offered to help because my background check wouldnt clear. I paid her a lump sum up front for lending us her name. I kept all thi...

    Stuart’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Foster. Your lawyer will need to know more about the matter before being able to properly advise you. One question is whether you have "standing" to bring a legal action against the president on behalf of the company, that is, whether the court will recognize you as someone with the right to bring the action.

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  • Can a Seattle landlord legally refuse lease renewal to residential tenant as retaliation for refusing to waive rights?

    Suppose a landlord has demanded that a residential tenant waive certain rights guaranteed by the Seattle Residential Landlord-Tenant Resources (RCW 59.18). If the tenant refuses to waive their rights, can the landlord retaliate by refusing to allo...

    Stuart’s Answer

    In Seattle an unlawful detainer (eviction) is possible only for certain specified reasons (see section "C" of http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~scripts/nph-brs.exe?d=CODE&s1=22.206.160.snum.&Sect5=CODE1&Sect6=HITOFF&l=20&p=1&u=/~public/code1.htm&r=1&f=G). A tenant's refusal to waive such rights is not one of them. Without a recognized and permitted reason the landlord cannot evict you just because your lease has expired.

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  • I have just received a non-renewal notice from my landlord. What I should do?

    I have been living living in this appartement complex for over 6 years. And each year I have have renewed my lease for 6 years. And now for no reason, I have just received a notice of non-renewal. What I should do? i need your help. Thanks

    Stuart’s Answer

    If you live in Seattle you might be in a better position as it has a "just cause" ordinance which says that the there are only specific situations which allow the landlord to evict a tenant and the termination of a lease is not one of them. Discuss your case with an experienced landlord/tenant lawyer to see if it or some other feature of your lease might allow you to stay.

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