Can a landlord restrict a tenant’s hours of operation if there is no such restriction in the lease?

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Can a landlord restrict a tenant’s hours of operation if there is no such restriction in the lease?

After 2 months of being open for business, all of a sudden the landlord is trying to say I have to close earlier. My business is open until 8 pm in a office building. She states that the office building hours are until 6 pm. But there are other businesses operating later than 6 pm as well and she is only targeting me. And also, there was nothing in the contract which mandates I close at a specific time and I had already disclosed my business hours prior to signing lease agreement. What are my rights as a paying tenant? Since what the landlord is doing doesn’t really seem legal.

Asked on May 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract; it binds both parties. If there is nothing in the lease indicating that you have to close by a certain time, the landlord cannot require you to do--particularly not in the case where, as your write, you fully disclosed hours of operations prior to signing the lease agreement.

That said, it also may be the case that the landlord does not need to provide certain services to you, after the building close hours, which may effectively force you to close. For example, if there is a security desk and the hours are only until 6, then the landlord may be entitled to lock the doors at 6 when the staff goes off for the night. You may then be able to let people in yourself, but you would not be able to require her to staff the desk later until the lease provided for it.


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