Q: Would a building repair requirement be considered different than a refurbishment, improvement and/or remodel?
We signed an "as is" provision within a lease amendment of a commercial building. The amendment was to add additional space to the original lease. In order to meet our business needs, we made remodeling improvements to the interior of additional space. As a result of the inspection requirements under the remodel, the city, fire dept. and water district found code violations to the building premises. We paid for all of the required repairs to bring the building up to code. The landlord is now stating that he is not responsible for required repairs to the building because, under the amendment's "as is" provision, the landlord also disclaimed any financial responsibility for any "refurbishments", "improvements" and/or "remodel" to the building and the inspection would not have been required if we had not remodeled the building. We are seeking financial relief from the landlord, as the "repairs" were required due to code violations and were not intended as part of our remodel plans.
A: You should consult with a local attorney familiar with construction law and real estate. Sometimes when you remodel more than certain percentage of the total square footage of the premises you are then require to bring the entire structure up to code. This means that the premises might not have been up to code but might have been "grandfathered" in as long as any work done was minimal. Some times changes to the local code or those by the ADA require that the premises be up to code even if no remodeling or repairs are done. Gather all the information regarding every violation and discuss with an attorney any options you might have under the "as is" provision and local law.
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