Is a commercial landlord responsible for replacing a leaking roof?

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2011

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Is a commercial landlord responsible for replacing a leaking roof?

I’m renting a Feed Store for $4000 per month, with a rent increase every year of my 3 year lease. The property was let go for years, and had become an eye sore to the community. We moved in 05/01/10, and spent weeks cleaning, painting, repairing, trying to restore this old building (at our expense). The roof is old, and beyond repair. After constant complaints not only from us, but customers, our landlord was then in agreement to pay a portion of a new roof (with us paying the balance). Keep in mind we had personally already tried to repair the roof without success. I sent a nice note to the landlord with my rent check, stating the extremes that we go to protectour product with plastic, and informing him of our loss of product due to weather damage. Yesterday he stopped in and said that. “It really doesn’t matter to him, he bought the property to flip it and it to be a waste of money to make anymore improvements”. I told him legally it is his responsibility. He doesn’t see it that way. Am I wrong to think it’s his responsibility to replace an old leaking roof?

Asked on January 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I hate to put this matter back in your court but I think that you need to take the lease agreement to an attorney to review on your behalf.  Generally speaking any repairs that are in any way structural are usually the responsibility of the landlord BUT a landlord can shift that responsibility to a tenant in a commercial lease.  What does your lease say?  Does it say that you need his permission to do those type of repairs or that he is responsible for those type of repairs?  If it is his responsibility you have a loss of business claim as well.  So get on it and bring the lease to an attorney to review.  Good luck.

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