Running Head: T&W Building Co v. Merrillville Sport & Fitness Inc.
T&W Building Co v. Merrillville Sport & Fitness Inc.
Keller Graduate School of Management
Professor: James Keenan
Business Law: Strategic Considerations for Managers & Owners
T&W Building Company, the landlord, the defendant in the case.
Merrillville Sport & Fitness, INC., the tenant, the plaintiff in the case.
T&W Building Company entered into a five-year lease agreement as the landlord with Merrillville Sport & Fitness INC., to lease space in a building that would be used as a sports and fitness center. The lease provided that the ...view middle of the document...
Whether the tenants are allowed a refund on the rents due during their occupation as an element of damages?
V. Whether the court went wrong in admitting the plaintiff?
The central question in the case is whether or not constructive eviction was in a reasonable amount of time and if the awarded amount was excessive.
The courts resolved the issue by reviewing the evidence of the lower court based on the defendants claim. The courts did uphold the lower courts and awarded judgment to the plaintiff.
The landlord focuses his argument against constructive eviction upon whether the tenant’s abandonment occurred within a reasonable time. Constructive eviction occurs when residential rental property is an uninhabitable condition. The uninhabitable condition makes the property unsuitable to live in, forcing the tenants to leave the property. When residential real property is uninhabitable, it creates a condition under which the tenants have been ‘constructively evicted’: the facts and circumstances are such that the tenant is unable to have full use and possession of the rental property and therefore, in reality, have been evicted.
To claim constructive eviction, the tenant must serve the landlord with a written notice of the constructive eviction and provide the landlord with a reasonable amount of time to clear up the problem. While, it is necessary to give the landlord a chance to remedy the problems, in this case the problems weren’t remedy causing the tenants to leave the premises. In this particular case, the plaintiff didn’t leave until after a year of renting property although claims were submitted within the first month. According to the lease, the landlord had the duty to maintain the physical structure of the leased premises, as well as the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing equipment. The landlord was also to keep the heating and cooling “in good order, repair and condition”, and was to commence the required repairs as soon as reasonably practicable after receiving the written notice from the tenants. The landlord argues that because the heat problem was “remedied” a month prior to the tenant’s abandonment, it did not abandon within a reasonable time.
There is evidence that this problem was also left un-remedied. The defendant provided two photos depicting the leased premises after the tenants had left. The photos show at least 1/3 of the ceiling tiles were missing, which would allow the heat to escape to the roof and contradict any assertions that the area was contained. Thus, the evidence indicating that the space was not contained as of the time the tenants had abandoned the premises and that the lack of heat was not alleviated. Since the facts were not undisputed and reasonable minds could differ as to whether abandoning occurred in a reasonable time frame, constructive eviction is a present fact.
The plaintiff also brought up the issue of excessive damages awarded. A...