What to do if I’m the tenant in a commercial property and last year our shop flooded several times which caused damage to personal property/equipment and significant cleanup time and wages lost?

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What to do if I’m the tenant in a commercial property and last year our shop flooded several times which caused damage to personal property/equipment and significant cleanup time and wages lost?

The cause for the flooding was due to the landlords negligence to repair a pipe behind our shop. He was/is aware of the problem and now it has happened again with the same damage and cleanup problems. What can I do? What is he responsible for?

Asked on June 16, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the damage is due, as you say, to landlord negligence (not making a repair of which they are aware), then they are potentially responsible for all your losses (e.g. damaged property; clean-up costs; lost wages or business) directly caused by the flooding. In addition, because you are being effectively denied some of the use of the space for which you are paying, you may also be entitled to some rent abatement (some money back on rent) for violation of the implied warranty of habitability (the obligation, imposed on all landlords, that they provide rental space fit and usable for its intended purpose). If the landlord will not voluntarily pay, you'd need to sue him and prove in court, by a preponderence of the evidence (more likely than not) that the landlord was aware of the problem, failed to fix it despite the opportunity (e.g. time) to do so, and that the problem (the pipe) caused the damage.


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