Commercial lease provides for snow removal and landlord isn't doing it
4 attorney answers
You should consult with an attorney to review the lease. If the lease permits that you can repair and deduct you may do so, otherwise, you would have to pay and then demand that the LL reimburse you as a consequence of breaching the lease. There are legal steps that can be taken to avoid paying rent and for the snow removal. How you proceed will require consideration of both legal and business issues.
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I’m sorry you are faced with this situation, though it’s probably a common one after the recent storms hitting the North East. I agree with my colleagues that the answer depends upon the terms in your lease. Is there a section in your lease that discusses the Landlord’s default? This provision would spell out what constitutes a default by the Landlord and what remedies you have. There isn’t always such a section and if you didn’t negotiate it into the Lease, it’s likely not in there. If you don’t specifically have the right to self-help written into your Lease, then you likely cannot remove the snow and ice and bill the Landlord for the cost of the work. As Attorney Tobin pointed out, that would make suing the Landlord your remedy. I agree with Attorney Robbins that you should contact your Landlord to voice your concerns and ask about the snow/ice removal. After you call the Landlord or property manager, be certain to follow it up with something in writing. Check the Notices section of your Lease to see how notices must be delivered – it likely requires them to be in writing and sent via certified mail, return receipt requested or by overnight courier. If you don’t send notice by a required method, it doesn’t count as having sent notice and the Landlord is not required to take action. If you can’t find the appropriate sections in your Lease or have no luck with the Landlord, I advise you to contact an attorney who can review your lease and fully apprise you of your rights and obligations under the agreement. Consider contacting Mr. Robbins or Mr. Tobin – both have great reputations.
I hope the situation is resolved quickly and I wish you the best of luck.
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to provide legal advice for your specific situation
It would depend on the specific lease terms. Generally a commercial lease is written so that the tenant cannot "repair and deduct". Generally the obligations in the lease are independent as opposed to mutually dependent. Strangely enough, this means that your remedy would be to sue the landlord for breaching his agreement and the measure of your damages would be the expenses you incurred in paying for services that were his obligation. I would suggest having an attorney review the lease to what remedies it provides to you, if any. Then the lawyer would write a letter to the landlord detailing how the landlord has breached the lease, etc., and send him the bills for reimbursement. He may then agree to have you deduct it from the next month's rent.
I am sorry you are faced with this.
First, review the terms of your lease; Second, reach out, in a documented manner - either by email or letter - that these are the issues you are having. You may be surprised - he may respond that he is in the process of arranging such removal today.
If this does not work I would suggest that you meet with a real estate attorney who can review your lease and advise you as to whether it would be advisable to deduct from rent or take other action.
I wish you all the best.
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