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VIC Surrender Lease for Dance School?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by bjtrash, 2 March 2015.

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  1. bjtrash

    bjtrash Member

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    Hi, we run a dance school and have been having many issues with the landlord. The main one being his refusal to lock the building when we are not there, and constant interruptions by strangers who enter the building when young girls are present. There is common property stairways and hallways in the building that pass the studio, dressing room and waiting areas but this hasn't been a problem in the past, no one came up.

    Now he has moved his family into the back of the building and there is a lot of traffic. He has also leased the area directly under the dance school to a tattoo parlour. This has had a detrimental effect on enrolments, and we receive daily emails from parents concerned about the safety of there children and regretfully moving them to other schools now that they are aware that we are not allowed to lock the doors.

    We have no choice to relocate the school to keep the children safe and to save the business. We wish to surrender the lease but the landlord will not cooperate.

    Any suggestions, please?

    I'm feeling desperate.
     
  2. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,

    Which State are you in? You will need to apply to the Tribunal in your State to end your lease. You will need to keep paying rent until the dispute has been resolved.
     
  3. bjtrash

    bjtrash Member

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    we are in Victoria
     
  4. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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  5. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Hi there

    If as you say there are 'constant interruptions by strangers' (from the tattoo parlour or otherwise), then in a way he's not only interfering with your business interests to turn a profit but also you could say he's preventing you from discharging your duty of care for the minors in your care during the dance classes.

    My suggestion is first to carefully review your lease and see if there are any provisions which might limit landlord conduct of that kind.
     
  6. joyce werner

    joyce werner Member

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    heavy topic
     
  7. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi again,

    Have you resolved this situation?

    As a follow up to your question, I should also mention that all tenancies have implied covenants (terms), including the covenant that entitles the tenant to quiet enjoyment of their property. There is case law that extends the liability of a landlord to the actions of one of their tenants that affects another of their tenants if the disturbance was reasonably foreseeable.

    What this means is that if it was reasonably foreseeable that a tattoo parlour would cause disturbance to a dance school directly above, then the landlord would be liable for the disturbance, potentially extending to the financial detriment you suffered due to parents moving their children to other dance schools. I suggest that it was reasonably foreseeable that a tattoo parlour would cause disturbance to a dance school for young children and that from the sounds of things, you have a lot of evidence as to why so many parents moved their children elsewhere.

    Additionally, the landlord is naturally liable for any of their own actions that hinder your right of quiet enjoyment, such as moving his family into the back of the building and inhibiting the privacy of your business and its students.

    If you haven't been to the tribunal or the outcome didn't include compensation for loss of business, you may want to consider taking this matter further. You would have to seek legal counsel first.

    For your reference, the case precedent I referred to that extends the liability of landlords to their tenants (when it affects another tenant) is Aussie Traveller Pty Ltd v Marklea Pty Ltd (1998) 1 Qd 1. It is a Queensland case however there is older English case law on this principle so I don't see why this reasoning wouldn't be applied in Victoria.
     

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