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This is our second post in our series on “Do I Have to Pay For It?” If you want to know whether you have to pay for a major appliance failure in your commercial space, check out PART 1.

In an ideal world, we would all be able to afford our own stand alone buildings. We would have all the space we need, we could create all noise we wanted, and we wouldn’t have neighbors. However, that isn’t usually a reality. Most micro-gym owners cannot afford to buy a multi-million dollar building. Additionally, it can be really hard to find a building that is the size we need without having any other tenants. Even the gym we own, Industrial Athletics, shares the building with others. Once you add other businesses, you add even more potential for problems.

In this article, we want to discuss what to do when something goes wrong in another space in your building, but impacts your business. Who pays for it? How do you get the issue repaired? See these answers below.

The Factual Scenario

Here is the scenario:  You find a space to lease for your gym.  The building has multiple leased areas and multiple tenants.  You decide to lease anyway and open your business.  You are moving along, building your membership, seeing some profits, and then it happens.  The sewer backs up in the space next to you and it causes your bathrooms to flood.  You need to fix this and quickly.  So, what do you do?  

Two Problems to Solve

This scenario is unique because there are actually two problems at play at the same time.  First, you have the flooding in your space that needs to be cleaned up and fixed.  Hopefully, there is no long term water damage.  Second, unless the initial cause of the flooding is repaired, this isn’t going to stop.  However, how do you, as the gym owner, control the repairs in another commercial space?  

First, pull out your lease.  Thumb through it and find the Maintenance section.  Hopefully your lease has one and hopefully it says the Landlord is responsible for maintaining the building, the premises, plumbing, etc.  If so, you are in luck.  Now you can call your landlord and demand that he takes care of the flooding in your space asap.  

If your lease does not have a maintenance section, or the maintenance section says you are responsible, then you are responsible for the flooding in your space.  This can be a problem as you now have to come out of pocket for the repairs of any flood damage and you still have to pay for your lease next month. 

Next, contact your landlord and start inquiring about who is responsible in the other commercial space for fixing the plumbing issue that is causing your damage.  Unless you were really proactive when you signed your lease, you are now at the mercy of the other lease.  Hopefully your building mate was savvy enough to have a maintenance section in its lease to make it the landlord’s responsibility for plumbing repairs.  Otherwise, you now have to wait and hope that someone else is going to have the time and money to fix the issue.  This can be a long drawn out process.

You Need Help

Scenarios like this one are a complete nightmare.  There will be so many twists and turns that you can only pray for a smooth repair.  You need to get an attorney to help you and advise you on what to do next.  It could save you thousands of dollars. 

Better yet, you need to get out in front of it.  You will never be able to prevent issues like this from happening.  But, you can be proactive about protecting yourself as much as possible from the beginning.  That is where attorneys, like us, come in.  You need to contact us before you sign your lease.  We have the experience to know what to look for and what provisions need to be in your lease to protect you and your business as much as possible.  Before you sign, contact us today.

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