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Thread: Need some advice: Small Business Owner

  1. #1
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    Default Need some advice: Small Business Owner

    Hey Beyond,

    I'm sure alot of us on here are small business owners. I own a Retail Shop myself.

    Here's the problem and I was wondering if anyone has advice for myself. My Bay that I'm renting has been rented to us for two years - however the owner of our Bay has turned out after we signed the contract to be only after the money. There's times he's entered our business without consent to do "repairs" and he's had unattended workers here leaving messes and basically people we cannot trust other than the owner. That and he hands us bills late so they're overdue.

    I'm not happy renting this retail space from the owner now as he's turned out to be intolerable, we own a womens clothing store - and he has the tendancy to come in the store, with no warning when we are serving customers and go do whatever he pleases.

    Here's the kicker though - I'm locked into this lease based on our contract. However - I believe firmly that the area we are renting was built without the City's consent - to build in a Bay, you have to get City approval, inspections performed and proper documentation - which I know was not done properly. What do you think Beyond?

    I know I have an upper hand because I found this out after signing my lease and moving in - because construction continued and I didn't see any City officials come by. Because if this is the case and we do close - I'll be going to recover any lost income and rent that I have paid to him - because if this was known to myself I wouldn't have entered this contract.

    Cheers,
    Ray
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    I would imagine him entering the store to do repairs without proper due notice would be a breach of the contract.

    To the contract good sire!
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    Originally posted by JBreaks
    I would imagine him entering the store to do repairs without proper due notice would be a breach of the contract.

    To the contract good sire!
    Would this matter if it was in the past - like when we first opened, because I let this go based on the fact that he was being a pretty nice guy. His son also opened the door for people to do work in our store - and we weren't notified and the chain on the door was broken.

    Ray
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    I know that in a residential rental situation, these type of interactions are regulated. Given that, legally a corporation has (basically all) the same rights as a individual, I would assume similar regulation applies here. I recall that its something like 48 hours notice before a landlord can enter the residence. More important than when it happened, was that you have no evidence of the occurrence, so its all hearsay at this point.

    Does this give you right to break the lease... questionable. Is that your goal here? to exit the property asap?

    With small retail stores the physical location may provide a certain degree of "goodwill" benefits to you. eg.) regular customers shop because you are down the street. Maybe not so on the other side of town.

    I'ma look up the legislation for you...... uno momento

    Edit:

    Residential Tenancies Act:

    http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?pag...=9780779737925

    Little bit of research shows no legislation specific to "commercial tenancies"..

    you can use CanLii.org to get legislative documents for free as well.
    Last edited by JBreaks; 01-13-2011 at 05:23 PM.
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    For things like this you really need to dig out your lease. A commercial/retail lease is quite different then a residential one.

    Typically there will be clauses that include something along the lines of "grant the tenant quiet enjoyment of the premises during the term" as well as other provisions that deal with work and repairs. If you have a problem with the timing of repairs your best bet is to bring it up with the landlord (In a nice way) and just explain the situation. (If you havent done already)

    As for the illegal building/permits, you can always pull title on the building and see what the city has listed. It can be as easy as searching on the city website looking up the City Tax Assessment of the building and see what portions are included.

    I work as a consultant for Commercial (Downtown Office) Real Estate, if you have anymore questions feel free to ask. (PM is probably best as most leases are confidential)


    Mark

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    Wow. Number one, the landlord shouldn't have a key to your space/bay - our landlord doesn't have access to our bay and calls ahead to ensure if it is okay if they come inside for whatever. Another question - what kind of repairs is the landlord doing - generally, you as the tenant, should probably be responsible for anything inside of your bay aside possibly from HVAC and structural issues. Electrical repairs, plumbing issues that are inclusive to your bay are usually your responsibility to address unless your lease agreement states otherwise. First thing to do is to go over your lease agreement with a fine comb to understand what your landlord can or can not do and what you and the landlord are each responsible for - unauthorized entry except in emergencies would seem quite unrealistic to me.
    Ciao, beyond.

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    Typically, breaches (if these are breaches) of leases don't allow you to get out of them entirely. They may entitle you to damages - usually applied as a deduction from the amount that you need to pay going forward, or they entitle you to withold payment until the breach is corrected. If the breach is substantial enough, it may frustrate the lease and allow you to terminate. From my understanding, this is relatively rare.

    You should probably speak to a commercial real estate lawyer and get some advice before you try anything. It's pretty easy to mess this stuff up - and there may be other remedies available to you as well.

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    Can you describe more in details (without revealing too much private info like location, store), how the "bay" build out was illegal or not to city approvals? Like is this a huge warehouse and he basically put up walls creating a "unit" for your business and the build didn't have building permit?

    Just trying to understand that part because if you're currently running a business outta there, this means you have a City of Calgary liscense with that address, no?

    And check your lease, ensuring your business can obtain on a certain property is tenant responsiblity. Change of land use, liscensing fees, professional fees (i.e. for automotive, AMVIC)... Most commercial leases will bind you into the property even if after signing the lease that your business industry can't obtain proper approvals.

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    Did you talk to the landlord about him showing up unannounced and dropping off your bills late? Are you able to break your lease with a certain amount of notice? If so then I'd get on his ass and tell him to either straighten up or you're out.
    We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realized they were inside us.

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    Originally posted by ddduke
    or you're out.
    Yea except not everyone has a moron for a landlord where you can just pack up and bail and fuck on last rent cuz he was too stupid and nice to take a damage deposit trying to help your business get started.

    But really bailing on a month's rent isn't really that much money and probably isn't worth chasing neither, just integrity is all.

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    Originally posted by R-Audi
    If you have a problem with the timing of repairs your best bet is to bring it up with the landlord (In a nice way) and just explain the situation. (If you havent done already)

    As for the illegal building/permits, you can always pull title on the building and see what the city has listed. It can be as easy as searching on the city website looking up the City Tax Assessment of the building and see what portions are included.

    I work as a consultant for Commercial (Downtown Office) Real Estate, if you have anymore questions feel free to ask. (PM is probably best as most leases are confidential)

    Mark
    I have a large problem with it, because we agreed on him to come into the Bay when I'm present, on my own time. The thing that really makes me mad is he'll call to state an "emergency" at 6:00am when I work night shift till 3:00am (he knows this as well) - common courtesy would be nice, and we've spoken to him about this. His state of "emergency" was his Electrical guys are coming in to do wiring.

    That's great information Mark - would you know where I can find the link to pulling the Title online?



    Originally posted by TomcoPDR
    Can you describe more in details (without revealing too much private info like location, store), how the "bay" build out was illegal or not to city approvals? Like is this a huge warehouse and he basically put up walls creating a "unit" for your business and the build didn't have building permit?
    There was coverings over the walls, windows and all. I recently discovered according to our Bay - that we should have a HUGE garage door in the back - of course, the door is there but a wall has been constructed, drywalled and painted over to conceal it. It's supposed to be an Empty Bay - with a garage door in the rear. Single story about 40 feet high. However now it's two levels, with our business occupying the lower level and three offices upstairs being rented out as well. I can tell he didn't get the cities approval just based on his staircase - crooked and slanted to one side. Shoddy to be honest and def. not level.


    Originally posted by ddduke
    Did you talk to the landlord about him showing up unannounced and dropping off your bills late? Are you able to break your lease with a certain amount of notice? If so then I'd get on his ass and tell him to either straighten up or you're out.
    I've talked to him about this and simply put he says "He doesn't have the money to pay the rent" when to be honest he's making well over what the rented space to us is normally rented to the surrounding bays.

    Thanks for your help, keep it coming!

    Ray
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    Here is one way to search the city assessments...
    But you will have to have an idea of size etc of the building which shouldnt be that bad since it should be stated on your lease.

    https://assessmentsearch.calgary.ca/search.aspx

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    Just an update,

    Like I said, I know nothing was done to the City of Calgary Building Code and permits we not issued -

    I was unplugging the CD player and the whole plug socket came out. Aren't these supposed to be attached with a junction box to support it, as well as the wiring? All it is is a hole, the whole mounting plate was drilled into the drywall and held in with those plastic anchors you use when you don't have a supporting beam (like when you're hanging picture frames) - so there is wiring all back there, live wires - not done properly. Isn't the copper (not sure if it's earth/neutral) supposed to be grounded to the junction box (from what I've seen...)?

    I'm thinking it's time to call the city and have someone inspect. My insurance will NOT cover a place that was done with corners cut and to me, it's a fire hazard.

    Ray
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    Anyone?

    Ray
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    I'll check with a buddy who is a contractor.. but you should be able to pull up past permits etc through the city.

    Tread lightly though... cant imagine the landlord would make things easy for you if he found out.

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    Apparently the best way to report something anonymously is by calling 311... you dont have to leave your name, but you can leave your number and they will return your call with their findings.

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