What restrictions can a landlord put on a tenant’s business?

I rent an ice cream store and I am trying to sell.The guy wants to do sandwiches as well as ice cream. The landlord told me no only ice cream. Is she allowed to do that when I have a food license?

Asked on November 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there is currently an in-force (e.g. unexpired) lease, then the landlord may not put any restrictions on the business which are not supported by or contained within the lease--that is, the landlord may not add new limitations. So if currently you could sell sandwich as well as ice cream, then anyone who buys your business and takes over the lease could, too. (If the lease does restrict, or allow the landlord to restrict, what is sold or done, however, that would be enforceable--in that case, the landlord could say no to sandwiches.) When the lease expires and is up for renewal, the landlord is free to say he/she will only renew if the tenant agrees ot only sell ice cream, unless the lease itself has some term or clause which allows it to be renewed at the tenant's option in the same form.

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