Q: I was renting a commercial building for automotive repair. I have 4 bays and 2 separate sides. For the first year I used only 2 bays on one side. The other side was leased by different people. That side lease was up, and they moved out. I knew a mechanic that wanted to start a business. I recommend them for the other side. I asked the landlord for 2 leases, but he insisted and put it all under me. The guys next door paid $1,400 and so did I. Almost a year goes by and now it’s almost the first of the year. I’m on holiday break with my family and I stop past the shop and they are no longer there. They emptied the shop without paying December rent. I do not have $1,400 for their side, but I have paid for mine. The landlord is upset of course, so am I. Because I was completely blindsided about them leaving. They told the landlord they would pay then they didn’t. What can I do? They were still working there in December. The landlord wants the money from me. If I am evicted do I still have to pay the remaining rent?
A: It may be worth having your lease read by an attorney. If the lease has specific language to constitute a sublease which obligates you as payor, you may be liable. However, it appears you have been a good tenant and landlords do not like to lose tenants. There are reasons to keep you as a tenant which your landlord is aware of and if you are liable he should be willing to enter into a payment agreement with you.