Can my ex-landlord charge me for removal of a sign?

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Can my ex-landlord charge me for removal of a sign?

I bought a franchise 3 years ago and moved into an existing situation on a 5 year commercial lease. I could not afford the rent anymore and my landlord let me out of the lease with no charges. I did not take and could not afford to take the commercial light up sign on the building to my new location. Ex landlord now wants to charge me $1,000 for removal of sign and wants money up front (his son’s company is doing the work). Am I legally responsible for this, there is nothing in the lease about it. If so, do I have to pay upfront?

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written lease concerning the commercial rental that you no longer have possession of and the lease says nothing as to whose obligation it would be to install and remove signage for the property, one would have to look at what the custom and practice would be for such a situation would be concerning commercial leases.

My experience is that the tenant or former tenant is responsible for installing all signage. If you refuse to pay to have it taken down and the former landlord does it at his or her expense, then he or she could argue that the sign was abandoned and is his or hers to do as pleased.

Given the fact that the landlord was nice enough to let you out of the balance of your lease, you should pay a certain portion of the sign's removal as a gesture of goodwill on your part.


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