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In Seattle, WA, is it required that the Landlord / Seller Agent disclose known material facts about building structural damage

Seattle, WA |

Leased a commercial property, that after multiple floods it was discovered that the landlord settled a lawsuit with the previous tenant for the same reasons. There was no signs of damage during our walk through inspections and late found internal email documentation, of the landlord, to fix any cosmetic damages from water damage quickly after any occurs. The landlord didn't do any corrective construction to try to fix the causes of the water damage.

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

Your lease probably has some clauses intended to shield the landlord from liability, and such clauses may have shifted the risk of this problem to you. If the flooding is caused by sources outside the landlord's control (land use patterns in the area, water escapement from other parcels, municipal drainage failure, and so forth), the landlord might not be liable. But a landlord's deliberate cover-up, knowing in advance that your business would be impaired by the problem, probably gives you a viable way around the lease clauses. Your question implies that corrective construction could fix the problem, and if so, you might leverage your potential claim into getting the landlord to undertake the construction. Evaluation of your situation requires more information than you can or should disclose in a summary on this site, including the paper trail and the course of parties' performance of your transaction. Also, it will be useful to know what your insurance coverage has to say about this. If this has caused, or is causing, or will cause significant financial damage to your business, it's worth spending something on confidential legal advice. The problems does not necessarily have to result in litigation, but from the summary disclosed in your question I predict that there are plenty of business lawyers, commercial landlord-tenant lawyers, and litigators in this area who would be interested in helping you.

This answer is intended as a courtesy only, and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the attorney and the questioner.

Asker

Posted

Avvo emailed me to mark this as helpful, however the question was never answered. The question was, "is it required to disclose known material fact when looking at a commercial property for lease" which is a question regarding BEFORE the execution of a lease, not after. The lawyer inferred what the question was and didn't answer the question asked.

Jerry A Stimmel

Jerry A Stimmel

Posted

It is required, but that answer is irrelevant if the tenant signs a lease which shifts the risk of inspection and knowledge to the tenant. The structural problems summarized in your question seem material, but the definition of "material" can slip around with changes in context. The lease terms and transaction details are not disclosed in the question, so the answer is based on what can be inferred in light of experience. Let me reiterate: Evaluation of your situation requires more information than you can or should disclose in a summary on this site, including the paper trail and the course of parties' performance of your transaction. I'm just trying to keep you from running with a too-simplistic answer which could back you into a corner if you are using the answer to handle the matter yourself.

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