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As a California commercial tenant, can rent be withheld for failure to disclose terms and comply with the lease agreement?

Santa Fe Springs, CA |

We are a small business and have a 13mth lease on a unit that is being severely impacted by an act of eminent domain by the local city. The property management stated they were unaware of the changes that are taken place, however the city has advised that a settlement amount had been paid out to the owner of the property and previous tenant prior. We, as a new business and tenant, were unaware of any such settlement. Essentially the property management is pointing fingers at the city and the city is pointing fingers at the owner of the property stating they are responsible for any losses we have incurred as a result of the massive construction taken place. Who should we look to as the party to hold responsible?

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Attorney answers 3


The question is best asked of an experienced real estate attorney who does eminent domain cases. (Check with the Los Angeles County Bar Association for some names). As an impacted party, you sue both the City and the Owner and let them continue to point fingers (They may both be liable although under different theories) until the Court says "knock it off".
If the owner knew of the pending settlement of the eminent domain claim and said nothing during lease negotiations you have a lie by omission (a variation of fraud) that you can hang your hat on.
A truly proper answer will require someone to sit down with your stack of documents and a yellow pad and sort things out. See an Attorney, sooner rather than later.

A proper response would require a thorough investigation into the history and background of this relationship. The information provided above is just that, information, to be used as you see fit.

William Stanley Fitch

William Stanley Fitch


Sorry, as to withholding rent. My counsel on that is Don't do it. Keep this as simple as possible for yourself, pay the rent and avoid the 3 day pay or quit.


Most commercial leases have a clause dealing with eminent domain issues that arise during the tenancy.
You may have an action against the landlord for breach, and possibly fraud.
You should not withhold rent, at least not until you have first consulted with an attorney.
Take your lease, and any other related documents, to an attorney in your area that handles real estate cases.


Based on the limited information provided, the other answers are correct. You should immediately seek the advice of an attorney experienced with eminent domain cases. Contact the local bar association for referrals. As far as who to hold responsible, there is no way to say without first going overall of the underlying details.

When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. 

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