What to do if my father has been running a small grocery/liquor store for the past 10 years but the landlord is trying to evict him by spiking up the rent on the lease renewal?

The first year will increase by $1200 from its current price and each following year will increase by $1000. However, he was informed by one of his customers that there might be asbestos in flooring. The landlord had never informed my father of this. A technician came and took a sample. While we wait for the results, he has been extremely stressed with the possibility of asbestos and related health issues to exposure and the spiked rent prices for the new lease. Is it possible to sue for pain and suffering? Is there anything we could do about the increased rent?

Asked on August 18, 2013 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

1) There is no recovery for "pain and suffering" in commerical contract/lease cases.

2) In a  commercial lease, when the lease expires or when an increase is otherwise permitted by the lease, the landlord may ask for any size increase he wants (limited only by any limitations or restrictions in a then-still-in-force lease); there is no protection against the landlord increasing the rent beyond affordable levels.

3) If there is absestos and if the lease continues, then the landlord may have to remediate (i.e. remove and correct) the absestos; however, if your father does not sign the lease renewal, that would be moot, since he will not be renting there, anyway.

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