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If a commercial landlord withholds information regarding building permits and structure from previous tenant, who is liable?

Buffalo, NY |

- signed a 1yr commercial lease for cupcake retail store
- previous tenant was in same business
-city states business is not able to be run until changes made, as business is only licensed for an office
-landlord's ad stated can be used for retail or office
- landlord did not reveal that previous tenant had same issues with city
- landlord did not reveal that the building permit was for office only
-is this grounds for lease break without penalty? and who is liable?

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Attorney answers 4


It is possible. You may have a claim for misrepresentation contract-wise.


consult with a local attorney. You may have a case due to wilfull misrepresentation of the facts.

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The only proper advice here has already been stated by my colleagues - get a lawyer. You need one who is fully familiar with both the Buffalo and Erie County local laws and ordinances, because these differ in every part of the state.

It's not clear from your question whether you want to break the lease or seek damages from your LL. What you hope to accomplish will dictate the way you proceed. Get a lawyer right away. If you wait, you may be harmed, or even have your suit dismissed if you wait too long.

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As my colleagues have stated you may have a case regarding the misrepresentation of your lease. The landlord may have committed fraud. To be successful in a fraud cause of action, you must prove: (1) the making of a statement, (2) the falsity of the statement, (3) an intent to deceive, called "scienter", (4) reasonable reliance on the statement by the injured party and (5) injury sustained as the result of the reliance. Fraud is more difficult to prove than a negligent misrepresentation claim, which requires: (1) awareness by the defendant that his statement was to be used for a particular purpose; (2) reliance by a known party or parties in furtherance of that purpose; (3) some conduct by the defendants evincing defendants’ awareness of their reliance; (4) that defendant’s statements or conduct exaggerated or misstated certain facts; (5) that these misstatements resulted from the defendant’s negligence and/or lack of due diligence; (6) that plaintiff relied on defendant’s misstatements; and, (7) as a result, plaintiff suffered damages.

All of that being said, more facts would need to be known about your case in order to accurately evaluate your claim. You should contact an attorney. Many area attorneys, including myself, offer free initial consultations.

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