Leaseholds

Two court reject impossibility defense to tenant rent obligations under government shutdown orders while one abates rent under the wording of the force majeure clause

When Governor Cuomo ordered most businesses to stop serving the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, some could not generate the income needed to pay rent. Some have argued that the impossibility of earning profits to pay rents should constitute a defense to the contractual obligation to pay rent. Two courts in New York have now rejected that argument, including the federal Southern District and a state supreme court.

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Tenants have the right to receive guests

Affirming a traditional rule of law, the D.C. Court of Appeals held that tenants have the right to receive guests even over the objections of the landlord. Odumn v. United States, 227 A.3d 1099 (D.C. 2020). Defendant was charged with criminal trespass for violating a no-trespass order by the landlord but because he was on the property at the invitation of his aunt, who was a tenant...

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Rules governing court-ordered rental payments while eviction litigation is pending

When a landlord sued to evict a tenant for failure to pay rent, the court ordered to make rental payments (for "use and occupancy") during trial. The Massachusetts Appeals Court held that before ordering such payments, the trial judge must hold a hearing to determine whether the payments should be reduced because of defective conditions in the property....

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Commercial tenant right to lost profits and specific performance when landlord breaches lease obligation to make structural repairs

When a landlord breached a commercial lease obligation to make structural repairs to the property, the tenant was entitled to lost profits in addition to specific performance. Motsis v. Ming's Supermarket, Inc., 2019 WL 5704322 (Mass. App. Ct. 2019). The tenant had been...

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Mall owners liable for commercial tenant's sales of counterfeit sunglasses

The Eleventh Circuit has held a commercial landlord liable for its tenant's sales of counterfeit sunglasses when it knew of those sales and failed to stop them. Luxottica Group, S.p.A. v. Airport Mini Mall LLC,  2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23555 (11th Cir. 2019). The claim was for contributory trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, 15... Read more about Mall owners liable for commercial tenant's sales of counterfeit sunglasses

Fifth Circuit rules that landlord rejection of Section 8 housing voucher recipients does not violate the Fair Housing Act by imposing a disparate impact on the basis of race

Persons in need of financial assistance to afford housing are in a variety of categories of persons protected by the Fair Housing Act. African Americans are more likely than white persons to be poor; women of all races are more likely to be poor than men; persons with disabilities are more likely to need government assistance than...

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