Skip to main content

Can you break a lease(commercial) when landlord withheld information regarding fire code violations and heating system failure?

Seattle, WA |

-Signed a 3 year lease, though landlord never disclosed that the heating system was broken
-Was asked to fix back in September, never did
-Previously aware of this issue for years, it was why the last tenant left
-Landlord knew fire codes were being broken and did not notify tenant even after the fire marshal requested it
-Fire Marshal has given 7 days to fix fire code violation, but space is rendered inoperable and unsafe until fixed. Business cannot properly run without this space.
-This fire code violation is not tenant's fault
-Fire code violation will cause temporary business shut down for 7 days

Attorney Answers 2


  1. It sounds like some pretty good facts to escape your lease. But with three years rent at risk, I would take your lease and the notices and consult with a local real estate attorney. I could imagine some rental clauses that could be troublesome.

    If you find an answer helpful please mark it as such or as the Best Answer. You have asked us to state an opinion based upon stated facts. You have not provided us with any documents, pictures, witness statements or other admissible evidence. The opinions stated are based upon general principles of law unless otherwise stated, which may or may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Controlling law is also subject to change or reversal at any time. Any such changes may be retroactive and could significantly modify the statements and opinions expressed herein. Similarly, any change in the facts and assumptions upon which this opinion is based could modify the conclusions. We opine only as to matters expressly set forth, no opinions should be inferred as to other matters or to treatment of matters not specifically addressed. This opinion represents our best judgment as to the probable outcome of the issues discussed and is not binding on the courts or upon your adversaries. We can give no assurance that an adversary would not challenge our conclusions and prevail in the courts in a manner to cause adverse consequences. With respect to some of the matters discussed in the opinion, existing legal precedent may provide very little legal guidance. Although the opinions and views expressed are based on our best interpretations of existing law and what we believe a court would probably conclude if presented with the applicable issues, we can give no assurance that our interpretations would be followed if the issues became the subject of judicial or administrative proceedings. Realization of certain benefits described is subject to the risk that someone may challenge the treatment and that a court may sustain the challenge. Because you may bear the burden of proof required to establish a fact, the opinions expressed assume the you will undertake the effort and expense to present fully the case in support of any matter that you have asserted and an opponent might challenge. None of the advice provided here may be used to avoid tax liability, interest or penalties. If you want that level of assurance you will need employ us to perform the due diligence necessary to explore the facts and law applicable to your specific circumstances. I provide answers here to allow people to see the issue spotting, solution proposals, style of communication and analysis I may apply to factual statements.


  2. I know you know this, but the time to have a consult with a local real estate attorney is before you sign a lease for a commercial space. Commercial agreements are purely creatures of contract. There are no statutory safeguards to protect you as there are in residential tenancies. Your lease is going to say who is responsible for what. It may be that you contracted to do all the maintenance and keep the place up to code. Maintenance is not automatically a commercial landlord's obligation.

    No one can really give you accurate advice beyond these vague generalities without reviewing your lease. In Seattle, Scott Weaver at Carney Bagley or Evan Loeffler or Mike Daudt would be good choices.

    Elizabeth Powell

    Using Avvo does not form an attorney client relationship.

Real estate topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics