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

Asked over 1 year ago - 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. Elizabeth Rankin Powell

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.
  2. Clayton Harold Walker Jr.


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more

Related Topics

Commercial rental property for small businesses

Commercial rental properties have different lease agreements than residential ones. Repair/upkeep may be the responsibility of the tenant.

Building codes for real estate

Building codes are government rules on how buildings must be designed, constructed and maintained to ensure the safety of people living or working in them.

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