Renovations and build-outs happen all the time when someone wants to rent office space here in Orange County or elsewhere. As the construction progresses, workers may come across asbestos, which needs to be handled carefully in order protect people from exposure to this toxic substance and human carcinogen. When a landlord fails to properly handle this situation, it could lead to illnesses and litigation.
An office building in another state has become the center of litigation and controversy over the issue of asbestos. A former tenant claims that the landlord directed a former contractor to take materials covered and made with the toxic substance to a dumpster outside the building. The landlord wanted it done quickly and quietly.
When the tenant vacated the Texas building due to this “last straw” and threatened to let the other tenants know about the asbestos, the landlord supposedly retaliated by filing a breach of contract claim against the tenant. According to the complaint, the tenant failed to fulfill its obligations under the lease. The tenant denies these claims. Of course, it will be up to the court to make that determination. As for the claims regarding the disposal of the asbestos-laden materials, the tenant claims to have proof.
When a commercial tenant and landlord end up in a dispute, it could easily lead to litigation, and each side may have its own claims against the other. However, if it turns out that the litigation constitutes retaliation for exposing something seriously wrong with the building, such as the presence of asbestos, the court may hold the landlord liable and find in favor of the tenant. If an Orange County tenant does have an issue with a landlord that could become litigious by one or both parties, it would be beneficial to gain an understanding of legal rights and options before moving forward.