What are our rights if we signed a lease to open a retail shop but as of the start date, the premises was not in the condition that we were told it would be?

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What are our rights if we signed a lease to open a retail shop but as of the start date, the premises was not in the condition that we were told it would be?

The landlord was supposed to clear out the space which was full of his equipment and furniture by the start of the lease. He was also supposed to fix a ceiling leak, change ceiling tiles, change locks and put in carpet. By the start of the lease, the landlord had not done any of it. We moved the furniture ourselves and hired someone to help us move it. A month later, still nothing has been done by the landlord and we have not been able to use the space. The lease was a basic template lease with wrong dates, etc. Are we able to break the lease because we have not been able to use the space? And are we entitled to our rent and security deposit?

Asked on June 28, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since all cases depend on their own unique facts, for an answer to your specific situation, you should consult in detail with a local landlord-tenant attorney. That said, as a general matter, if the landlord does not provide you space on the date he/she is supposed, and/or does not provide you usable space, that would be a material (or important) breach of the landlord's obligations under the lease, which is a contract. A material breach of contract generally allows the other side to treat the lease as terminated and to recover any sums or amounts they paid for the time period covered by the breach, as well as escape liability for future payments. So based on what you write, in a general sense, you should be able to breack the lease and recover rent and security, but you are advised to consult in detail with an attorney before proceeding.


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