Brockett V. Carnes, 273 Pa. Super



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Imagine that a fire begins in Tenant's office suite after business hours. The fire is due to a freak electrical short in a newly purchased copy machine. Not only does the fire destroy Tenant's personal property, it destroys the better part of the interior of the office, including Tenant's improvements, the wall separating Tenant's premises from the adjacent office suite, and a portion of the common area elevator lobby outside the premises. Is Landlord required to restore the premises? Yes landlord is obligated to rebuild the premises and also the tenants improvements but not their personal property.

If so, does that include the Tenant's improvements as well? Yes



What about Tenant's personal property? No mmnbm,mnbvhyn
Perhaps the lease or the common law requires the Tenant to restore the premises. If so, is Tenant required to restore the interior wall in the premises? What about the common areas? Which of Tenant or Landlord is required to restore these to their pre-fire state? Even assuming that Landlord is responsible for restoration costs attributable to the premises or the building, this repair work will not be completed immediately. What happens to the Tenant (and Tenant's rental obligations) during the interim?
Where a tenant in a commercial lease agrees to waive the protections of N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 227, which bestows upon a constructively evicted tenant the opportunity to terminate its lease without further obligation, he is bound by the lease terms and will not be relieved of his obligations. Section 227 expressly excludes its application where the parties, in writing, have agreed to the contrary. The Legislature determined to void as against public policy a waiver or modification of rights by a residential tenant but let stand the statutory provision permitting waiver by a commercial tenant. N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 227(2)(d).
Brockett v. Carnes, 273 Pa. Super. 34

  • a provision in their lease providing that the "[l]essors shall be liable for exterior maintenance and extraordinary maintenance" required the lessors to rebuild the premises after they had been destroyed by fire. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the order of the lower court.

  • Holding: . We hold that the lease did not require the lessors to rebuild the destroyed premises and that the lower court correctly granted the lessors' preliminary objections. (The lessee argues that the fact that the lessors maintained insurance on the premises is an additional factor showing that the lessors were required to rebuild the premises. This contention is without merit because the existence of insurance coverage is irrelevant in determining the lessors' obligations under the lease.)



Constellation Holding Corp. v. Beckerman

  • The lease ivas not terminated by the provisions of paragraph Fourth thereof, since the fire occasioned damage only to the store and there was not a “ total destruction of the building by fire ”. Moreover, the conduct of the tenant shows that he did not consider the lease terminated. The only relief to which the tenant under the terms of the lease is entitled is an abatement of the rent “ for such period as is necessary for the actual m making of repairs While the evidence shows that the repairs were made in one month’s time, the landlord delayed ten days in commencing work and the tenant is therefore entitled to an offset in the sum of $333.33.

  • Judgment reversed, with thirty dollars costs, and judgment directed for landlord for $424.80, with costs


Schwartz, Karlan Gutstein v. 271 Venture

  • There was a fire at the premises and the landlord claimed that the tenant refused to permit repair unless the work could have been done in such a manner that the tenant's staff could have been present to protect its equipment and files. The trial court reasoned that it would have been unfair to give the owner a remedy of electing to terminate the lease by written notice to the tenant without giving such a right to the tenant under those unusual circumstances and found a constructive eviction. On review the court held that, under the lease agreement, the tenant was obligated to facilitate the restoration process by removing as promptly as possible its salvageable inventory and movable equipment, furniture and other property. The tenant, rather than cooperate, permanently moved to another premises and attempted to have the lease declared terminated. The court held that where a tenant in a commercial lease agreed to waive the protections of N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 227, which bestowed upon a constructively evicted tenant the opportunity to terminate its lease without further obligation, he was bound by the lease terms and was not to be relieved of his obligations.

  • When a tenant in a commercial lease agreed to waive the statutory protections that bestowed upon a constructively evicted tenant the opportunity to terminate its lease, he was bound by the lease terms and was not relieved of his obligation.


Finding that a lease "proscribe[d] constructive eviction as a basis for terminating the lease," because it provided that "[i]n the event of a [casualty] rendering the premises unusable, the tenant's sole remedy is a rent abatement during the restoration period"
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