What to do if we have a small business located in a mall and he entrance to the business is an electrical gate that locks, however it is broken?

UPDATED: Nov 17, 2012

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What to do if we have a small business located in a mall and he entrance to the business is an electrical gate that locks, however it is broken?

That is the only entrance to our business. Our landlord company has refused to fix it due to being behind in out rent. Is this legal?

Asked on November 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the fact that the gate is broken either--

a) denies you use of the space, such as by preventing customers from getting to you (or simply making it difficult for them to do so); or 

b) makes the space unsafe for either you or your property (such as by preventing you from locking up at night)

then the landlord would have to fix it; that said, if you are behind on your rent, you are yourself in breach of the lease and that may provide the landlord grounds to not carry out its obligations--and/or to evict you. It is difficult to require the landlord to spend money and honor its obligations when the tenant is not honoring the tenant's obligations, and there is a good chance a court would not order the landlord to correct this problem unless you made good on rent.

If the broken gate does not affect use or safety of the space but is only a slight or moderate inconvenience, then the landlord would not be obligated to fix it, unless the lease itself specifies that there is a working gate.

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