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Constructive eviction relieves the tenant from the responsibility to pay rent, but only after the tenant quits the premises. There can be no constructive eviction without the vacating of the premises.
Appellee Shaker and Associates, Inc., gave appellant Medical Technologies Group, LTD., a five-year lease for commercial office space in a building occupied by numerous tenants. Appellant alleged that once it took possession, it encountered a variety of defects in the building that ultimately rendered the space unusable for its business. When the appellant stopped paying rent, appellee filed a forcible detainer action, but the appellant surrendered possession before the date of the trial. Appellee filed an action to recover lost rents as well as attorney fees and appellant pled various affirmative defenses and also counterclaimed alleging breach of the lease, fraud and negligence but the trial court dismissed them. The trial court ruled in appellee’s favor. Appellant then sought review of the decision claiming that the trial court failed to properly interpret lease concerning appellee's responsibility for temperature variations, improperly dismissed its constructive eviction defense, and awarded excessive damages.
Did the trial court improperly dismissed appellant’s constructive eviction defense?
No. The court affirmed summary judgment in appellee's favor.
The court held that while the trial court erred in its reading of the lease concerning appellee's responsibility for temperature and humidity variations, appellant waived the issue when it failed to plead the issues in its second amended counterclaim. Also, the pleading lacked specificity where appellant only stated it suffered "loss of business income." It never stated how hot or cold it was or how loss of profits resulted. The court further held that constructive eviction was not supported where appellant failed to vacate premises after discontinuing rent payments. Damages were proper where lease stated appellee could collect rents after retaking premises.