If you have a commercial lease on a property and are running a business there, it could be detrimental to your interests if another entity moves nearby that is noisy or otherwise proves to be distracting. If you have talked to the owner or manager of the property without results, there are some things you can do to protect your rights and continue conducting business.
Quiet Enjoyment Clause and Nuisances
Before you rent a property, it would be wise to have a quiet enjoyment clause included. This would specify that you would be protected from the distractions and disturbances of other tenants who are leasing spaces within the same property. The more inclusive this clause is the better, since courts hold both parties strictly to a lease's terms.
Whether or not you have a specific clause in your lease, you will still have some legal remedies available due to the nuisance factor that would be affecting your business and use of the property.
There is a body of real estate law that can be drawn from and a general protection against nuisances inherent in the law, that would be helpful to your case. The nuisance law protects a lessee when someone is doing something on another property nearby that disrupts the lessee's use of the property they own or rent, whether they are conducting business or living there. However, each state also has laws that dictate how this is applied and would affect your course of action and your remedies.
You should be aware that problem like this may take months to resolve if the lesser is resistant to doing something for you.
Record of Customer Comments
One of the first things you should do, once you are aware that a problem is evident, is to start a written journal and record comments from any customers who are complaining. You will need to make note of the customer's names, plus dates and times of each comment. Keep the writing of this factual and businesslike, for it may be used later as evidence in court. This record may also help you identify clients whose testimony could be used later, if needed.
Correspondence With The Lesser
Before initiating any litigation, you will need to write a letter to your Landlord about the situation. This letter would need to
- Describe the problem.
- Note what is disrupting to the operation of your business and is driving customers or clientele away.
- Request a definite plan of action with a target date, so you can inform your patrons and staff of an upcoming remedy to the problem.
- Be copied and sent both by certified mail and regular mail. (Be sure to get a receipt from the post office that shows the address you sent the letter too along with the date sent.)
If you do not get a satisfactory response in a reasonable amount of time, you will need to consult a real estate attorney to advise you about remedying your specific situation. The lawyer will first initiate correspondence with the landlord. This should move the landlord to soundproof the property, or otherwise provide a remedy to the problem.If they do not respond, the matter may have to settled in court.
It may be that the problem can only be resolved by paying you enough money to move to another location and to recover your damages to your business along with letting you out of your lease early. In a few states the matter may only be brought to court after you have been forced to move, but other states may have laws that would be more helpful to you at any earlier stage of the case. For assistance, talk to a professional like Souders Law Group.