Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Yellowstone Injunction in Commercial Landlord-Tenant Disputes

By Victor Metsch

There’s a leak in the window, and the water trickles down to the next floor.  The office building triples in value and the landlord-tenant relationship sours with the lost profits.

The fire inspector needs a $100,000 fire suppression system installed, and the landlord insists the commercial tenant has to install it.

So the landlord sends the tenant notice that if he doesn’t cure a problem, the lease will end.  But sometimes the “problem” isn’t actually a violation of the lease, and the tenant doesn’t feel he has anything to cure.

Or perhaps he wants to arrange with the landlord to fix it within a few weeks, or to mutually ignore the problem, or he wants to fight in court about whether it is the landlord’s responsibility or his.

A few days pass, and the cure period expires.  The lease formally expires, and—to the tenant’s dismay—an eviction proceeding follows.  He spends thousands of dollars trying to keep his commercial space, but all the lawyers can do is metaphorically knock on the courthouse door in the rain.

The courts are powerless to reinstate the lease.

So a smart tenant who wants to keep his office space or his retail space will, before the cure period ends, go to court for a Yellowstone injunction.  The lesson here?  Be swift.

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