San Rafael, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for California

Q: can a commercial landlord drag their feet on construction for six years(estimate six months) until a lease terminates?

landlord offered lease to vacate for a remodel. then did not give a commercially reasonable effort to fulfill lease terms. changed lease terms and offered a shed in backyard to makeup for lost space take it or leave it or purchase the unit.

lease terminates after three years without taking possession.

refuses to give copy of original lease. never received a copy of original in six years since signing.

initial construction estimate given was six months. its been six years and couple weeks.

dont believe they have any intention of honoring lease

cashed deposit checks soon after lease signing

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, commercial landlords are expected to adhere to the terms of the lease agreement, including any provisions related to construction and tenant improvements. If a landlord significantly delays construction beyond the estimated timeline without a commercially reasonable effort or justification, it may constitute a breach of the lease. The tenant may have grounds to seek legal remedies, which could include damages for any losses incurred due to the delay or specific performance requiring the landlord to fulfill their obligations under the lease.

Regarding the change in lease terms and the failure to provide a copy of the original lease, tenants have rights under California law. Tenants are entitled to a copy of their lease agreement, and any modifications to the lease terms require mutual consent. If the landlord refuses to provide a copy of the lease or unilaterally changes the terms, this could further support claims against the landlord for not acting in good faith.

If you find yourself in this situation, it would be advisable to consult with a legal professional to review the specifics of your case, including any communications with the landlord and evidence of the agreed-upon terms and conditions. Documenting all interactions and attempts to resolve the issue with the landlord can strengthen your position. California law offers protections against such landlord actions, and you may have several legal avenues to pursue to enforce your rights and seek compensation for any harm suffered due to the landlord's actions.

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