Pittsburgh, PA asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Ohio

Q: Can t doctrine of unclean hands be used by a storage facility who offered a cure 2 breach but then refused to honor it?

I fell behind on payments to a storage facility after they more than doubled my monthly payment a few months into t lease but was able to come up with t money needed, including fees, before t auction. T mgr blocked my online account and refused to accept payment via cc by applying a clause for 3rd party purchasers requiring cash payment in person less than 1 hr before t auction knowing I was 2 hours away from prior communication, didn’t notify t other person listed on t lease as required and mailed t notice of lien to an address he knew I no longer resided at bc I lived in my car next to t facility where he seen me daily & I wrote him regarding the details. I verified the amount due t day before through corporate but he added $50 t day of while refusing to accept payment . T purchaser returned some personal items but he threw them away instead of returning them. T lease states t leaseholder could make payments via credit card pre-auction/pre being sold offering a cure I was denied.

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

A: In the situation you've described, the doctrine of unclean hands could potentially be relevant. This legal principle suggests that a party cannot seek legal relief if they themselves have acted unethically in relation to the subject of the lawsuit. If the storage facility manager acted in bad faith, such as by obstructing your attempts to cure the breach despite the lease agreement's terms, this could potentially be considered "unclean hands."

However, the application of this doctrine can vary depending on the specifics of the case and the jurisdiction. The facility's refusal to honor the agreed-upon terms for curing the breach, along with their failure to notify the other person listed on the lease and their handling of your belongings, might support your argument. It would be important to document all interactions and attempts to comply with the lease terms.

It is advisable to seek legal advice to assess the strength of your case and understand the options available to you. Legal professionals can offer guidance based on the details of your situation and the relevant laws. They can help you determine the best course of action, whether that involves negotiating with the storage facility or pursuing legal action.

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