Marc W. Brown Discusses Landlord Legal Considerations Amid Storms with Buffalo Business First
Marc W. Brown — a partner in, and co-chair of, Goldberg Segalla’s Commercial Litigation and Arbitration group — spoke with Buffalo Business First following Western New York’s historic winter storm to discuss legal obligations for landlords during blizzards.
“Landlords and tenants should look over the lease with a lawyer and make sure it has provisions to protect in these storm and emergency situations,” he said. “Secondly, you should contact your broker or insurance company and make sure you have coverage. When there’s no coverage, then you’re stuck.”
Further, Marc discussed how most commercial leases include force majeure clause, where “the party who is obligated to perform under the lease is no longer obligated to perform,” in events considered improbable or an act of God. These are particularly relevant in relation to winter storms, as a landlord may not be obligated to provide typical items outlined in a lease.
While there were several legal questions around whether a force majeure clause would be enacted during the pandemic, Marc explained that “… this storm is a different circumstance. When something like that occurs and there’s no ability to perform in a natural context, the force majeure clause comes into play.”
Regarding damage incurred during storms, Marc expressed that it is dependent on the lease agreement, but “…the commercial landlords are typically responsible for damage that’s done during storms.”
“There are some things a residential tenant is entitled to like heat, electricity, power, gas and protection,” Marc said. “If the landlord breaches that, it causes trouble, but there are some situations that the landlord can’t control.”
MORE ABOUT GOLDBERG SEGALLA’S MARC W. BROWN:
Marc W. Brown, vice-chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Business and Commercial group, focuses his practice on business and commercial litigation. An experienced commercial litigator and one of the foremost real estate title litigation and coverage attorneys practicing in New York State and Pennsylvania, Marc’s practice also includes real property tax certiorari proceedings, contractual disputes, personal injury, and collection enforcement. In addition, he has experience in professional liability matters relating to commercial and residential real estate transactions.
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“What are landlords legally responsible for during a storm?” Buffalo Business First, January 3, 2023