jennireb

Commercial lease

7 posts in this topic

We have been leasing a business property in SC for 3 years, I just found out we have a septic system that is over 40 years old, no mention of this on the lease, the management company did not even know. When we began having plumbing issues in Jan 2013, I was told it was my responsibility as the lease states :Lessee shall be responsible for all repairs required, exceptin the exterior wall and structural foundations. At this point the septic tank has to be completely re-placed due to the walls have collapsed, at a price of 3,000.00 I feel that is not a normal day to day repair and do not feel like I should have to pay to have a new system put in when I do not own the property. I have already spent 1,200.00 trying to fix the problem with no resolution in sight.....

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We have been leasing a business property in SC for 3 years, I just found out we have a septic system that is over 40 years old, no mention of this on the lease, the management company did not even know.

Why would you expect the age of the septic system to be mentioned in the lease? Prior to signing the lease, did you ask anyone about the age of the septic system?

When we began having plumbing issues in Jan 2013, I was told it was my responsibility as the lease states :Lessee shall be responsible for all repairs required, exceptin the exterior wall and structural foundations. At this point the septic tank has to be completely re-placed due to the walls have collapsed, at a price of 3,000.00 I feel that is not a normal day to day repair and do not feel like I should have to pay to have a new system put in when I do not own the property.

Feelings don't matter. All that matters is what the lease says. Does the lease limit the lessee's responsibility to "normal day to day repairs"? Your own description of the lease -- saying that the lessee is responsible for "all repairs required except[]in the exterior wall and structural foundations" -- suggests that it does not.

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I just did not want to have to pay for the entire repair, if it had been mentioned in the lease, i would have at least done a monthly maintenance of the septic tank. No one at the property leasing company knew about it until I asked and it took them 4 days to find out if there was a tank here. In a nut shell, I don't think this should be on me, however the lease states "ALL" repairs required, it does not limit the lessee's responsibility at all.

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The problem is that you signed the lease. It sounds to me as though you didn't consult with a local real estate attorney before you started negotiating the finer points of this lease. I suspect you'd spend a lot more than $3,000 to fight over this issue, so you need to do a cost-benefit analysis ... possibly in consultation with a local real estate attorney.

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I just did not want to have to pay for the entire repair, if it had been mentioned in the lease, i would have at least done a monthly maintenance of the septic tank. No one at the property leasing company knew about it until I asked and it took them 4 days to find out if there was a tank here. In a nut shell, I don't think this should be on me, however the lease states "ALL" repairs required, it does not limit the lessee's responsibility at all.

The other responders are correct, it's the terms of the contract that count. You apparently didn't understand what you were getting into when you signed it but now it appears that you are stuck.

You can, of course, take the contract to an attorney and see if you have any options.

By the way, did you ever buy insurance on the building? (Not just on your contents and equipment.)

You're responsible for all repairs except exterior walls and foundations. That leaves an awfully big chunk of the building left for you to repair if it's destroyed in a fire. And if you aren't concerned about that kind of remote possibility how about a lightning strike that fries the building's AC and heating system. Seems to me that you have an insurable interest in the building.

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if it had been mentioned in the lease, i would have at least done a monthly maintenance of the septic tank.

I take it, then, that the answer to my questions about whether the age of the septic system was mentioned in the lease and whether you ever asked anyone about the age of the septic system is no. It's easy to say, after the fact, that, "if you had told me ____, then I would have done ____ and avoided this whole mess," but the law does not require disclosure of every minute detail that might one day cause a problem. While laws governing the sale of residential real property require a significant amount of disclosure, laws regarding leasing of commercial real property generally have few, if any, disclosure requirements.

the lease states "ALL" repairs required, it does not limit the lessee's responsibility at all.

When you signed a contract that imposed on you an obligation to pay for (almost) "all" potential repairs, you obviously agreed to take on a huge amount of potential liability, and that obviously required an equally huge amount of due diligence. If a person in such a situation fails to conduct that diligence, then such person assumes a great deal of risk. Frankly, I cannot imagine signing a lease for commercial real property that imposes such a requirement without both a significant amount of inquiry of the landlord and an inspection by a licensed inspector.

I don't think this should be on me

If you are being truly honest, I suspect you will admit that you have no basis for thinking this. Sorry.

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