May 26th, 2024

Letter: One hundred million reasons

By Letter to the Editor on February 23, 2023.

Dear editor,

Pretend you own a commercial building, perhaps a strip mall. As landlord, you have signed leases with various tenants, who rent shops and stores from you. The leases impose legal obligations upon the tenants, which they have accepted. Those obligations are the counterparts of your landlord’s rights as the owner of the building.

The leases obligate tenants to pay rent, to keep their rented space in a clean and usable condition and, at the end of the lease, to repair any damage and leave their space clean and fit for subsequent use.

One day, you hire a new building manager – let’s call her Danielle Smith – to deal with your tenants for you. She is to collect previously agreed rents and enforce your owner’s right to have the rental spaces kept clean and repaired, and left clean and in good repair at the end of the leases.

Before she got the position with you, Smith was an advocate for your tenants, who paid her to try to negotiate a sweetheart deal with you for them. She owed a duty to them. Now she is your building manager, thus her duty is owed to you, but she wants your tenants to have the sweetheart deal. She wants to allow the tenants to pay less than the agreed-upon rent and to use the rent shortfall to fulfill their lease obligations to clean and repair the rented spaces.

Smith will lower the rent you receive by $100 million (This is actual fact – not fiction, not merely my opinion).

Leaving aside the questions of how and why she became your building manager in the first place, and whether or not you should end her working on your behalf on May 29 – are you, as owner, willing to give away your $100 million under the deal Danielle Smith says is in your best interests?

Last fall, according to the UCP, she was the best they had to manage your building.

Gregory R. Côté

Irvine

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