Florida landlord says Pa. photography business abandoned rental property

By Nicholas Malfitano | Dec 22, 2017

PITTSBURGH – A Florida property owner has started legal action against a photography business and its owners, who rented allegedly rented a property from the plaintiff for their business, abandoned it and did not fulfill the financial terms of the relevant lease agreement.

Commerce Limited Partnership No. 9420 of Deerfield Beach, Fla. filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Dec. 14 versus Farrell Photography, LLC (doing business as “Fox and Oak Photography”) of Bethel Park, plus James Farrell and Becky Farrell, of McDonald.

“Plaintiff is the owner and operator of a certain piece of commercial real estate located at 1750 North Highland Road, Bethel Park, PA 154241. On or about Nov. 7, 2016, plaintiff, as landlord, and Photo, as tenant, did enter into a lease agreement (lease), whereby Photo did lease from plaintiff approximately 1,040 square feet of the premises to operate as a photography studio. Defendants James Farrell and Becky Farrell signed the lease as guarantors,” the lawsuit says.

“Photo took over exclusive occupancy of the premises on or about Jan. 11, 2017. Photo abandoned the premises as of July 1, 2017 and last paid rent for June 2017. Upon information and belief, defendants James Farrell and Becky Farrell have moved to Oklahoma. On or about Sept. 19, 2017, plaintiff sent to defendants a default letter for the amounts due and owing under the lease. Despite diligent efforts to date, plaintiff has been unable to re-sublet the premises and same remains vacant since Photo’s abandonment,” the lawsuit adds.

Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the lease, Photo was required to pay basic rent and costs of improvement the plaintiff on a monthly basis – which they allegedly have not done since June 2017 and defendant owes plaintiff rent through the end of the lease term in January 2020, the suit says.

The plaintiff seeks at least $56,017.93, broken down as follows:

• Basic Rent (July-December 2017): $49,740.74

• Cost of Improvements: $406.00

• Late Fees: $2,492.40

• Broker Fee: $2,928.79

"Defendants’ refusal to pay rent, late fees and tenant allowances owed to the plaintiff is a material breach of and default under the lease causing loss to the plaintiff,” the suit states.

For counts of breach of lease (non-payment of rent) and abandonment of premises, the plaintiff is seeking damages, jointly and severally, for monetary damages caused by the defendant’s default under the lease, which amount does exceed the jurisdictional amount for compulsory arbitration, plus attorney’s fees, interests, costs and such other relief in law as the Court may see fit to grant plaintiff.

The plaintiff is represented by Jonathan R. O’Boyle of The O’Boyle Law Firm, in Johnstown.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-17-017070

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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