Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Washington

I own a drive-thru espresso business that leases lot space. I am trying to sell the business & have had several prospective buyers. When I tell them that we do not have a lease, the interest wanes considerably. The landlord does not want to commit to a lease because she is in negotiations to sell her property as well. Since the lack of a lease is preventing me from selling my business, do I have any recourse with the landlord? I'd be happy to not continue paying her rent while I try to sell my building & inventory, since my business is actually closed & not generating any income.

Asked on 8/06/09, 8:30 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Earl Morriss Land Law Washington, PLLC
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I'm sure you would be happy to not pay the rent...unfortunatly you do not have any known legal reason to not pay the rent. It is not the landlords problem that you can not sell your business because he will not extend the lease...as long as the landlord provides what the lease says he is to provide - you need to pay the rent.

But, you should be looking at other options...such as the landlord making arrangments with prospective buyers for your business to continue to exist. The buyer is in a better situation because there is income from the property - that could be a selling point for your landlord.

Also, if the business has the potential to make money you should be looking for other lease opportunities in the same market area.

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Answered on 8/11/09, 8:50 pm
Amir John Showrai The Pacific Law Firm, PLLC
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Withholding rent to try and force your current landlord to give you a lease is the wrong way to go about this. You should do as Mr. Morriss suggests and try to sell your landlord on a long term lease that will make her property more marketable to potential buyers, as well as your business more marketable to potential buyers. It's a win-win situation.

If you can't negotiate a lease, your next best bet is to relocate your espresso business to a nearby location with similar traffic, if possible and secure a lease there.

Remember, although your landlord's refusal to give you a long term lease affects your ability to sell your business, your landlord, has not DUTY to give you such a lease, and therefore you have no recourse beyond being nice and trying to strike a deal or leaving.

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Answered on 8/11/09, 9:20 pm

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