When renovations happen in the commercial building in which you have leased space and those renovations are impacting your use and enjoyment of your commercial space, what can you do? This was the question recently put to us by one of our business clients. The work had been ongoing for nearly two months and our client’s ability to conduct its business from its leased premises was being substantially negatively impacted. If you have ever lived through a renovation, you can imagine just how terrible this situation was for our client. Particulate mess, employee sickness and near constant work-interrupting noise were some of the things our client was subjected to.
Before we were in a position to advise the client, we requested a copy of the lease and reviewed it to confirm it contained a “quiet enjoyment” covenant and also to see what else it said regarding renovations and disruption. In our client’s case, the lease did include the quiet enjoyment covenant and a requirement the landlord provide the tenant with reasonable notice prior to entering its premises. However, not all commercial leases will include the quiet enjoyment covenant and some will even provide the landlord with extensive rights to create disturbance and disruption for renovation and similar purposes and at the same time state the tenant is not entitled to any compensation for such disturbance and disruption. In the case of large commercial landlords, these sorts of one-sided provisions are typically included in their standard leases.
Our next step was to write to the landlord requesting that it immediately comply with the lease, and provide our client with an action plan regarding the specific steps it would take going-forward to ensure it continued to comply. We set a deadline for compliance and advised that our next steps would be to seek a court injunction and damages.
In the case of our client, the situation has yet to play out….
If you happen to be in the process of negotiating a commercial lease with a landlord, new or renewal, we suggest you confirm that you will have legal recourse should your landlord place you in a position similar to our client. If you are a commercial landlord or tenant engaging in construction in a commercial building with other tenants, be a good neighbour.