Property Q

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Learning Hand
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Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:32 pm

Property Q

Postby Learning Hand » Mon May 03, 2010 2:40 am

L leases to T1. T1 assigns to T2. T2 sublets to T3. T3 assigns to T4.

So T4 moves in, and his apartment begins falling apart almost immediately as he moves in. He complains to L to make repairs. After three months, L hasn't made the necessary repairs. T4 abandons the premises and stops paying rent. Who can sue whom on what basis?

L can sue T1 and T2 on privity of contract (PK) and privity of estate (PE), respectively.
T2 can sue T3 and T4 under PK and and PE, respectively.
T4 can sue T2 under PE.

Now, T4 requested repairs from L, but he should have made such requests to T2. Absent a statute allowing T4 to file an action against L (and vice versa), does T4 have any chance of a successful claim for damages or a defense against a suit for nonpayment?


Here's a pic that may help or make things worse.


EDIT: Sorry, mistakenly had T4 subletting originally. It's an assignment. Fixed it.

Image

270910
Posts: 2437
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: Property Q

Postby 270910 » Mon May 03, 2010 8:29 am

1) I eventually figured out your chart, but it was possibly the least intuitive thing ever :P

2) Privity of contract requires we actually know what the contracts said. Just talking about assignments and subleases doesn't really tell us what NEW obligations began to flow. It's important to realize that once A and B are in a rental contract, nothing B can do on his or her own will take away the privity of contract between A and B. If B subleases to C, that agreement will never remove B's contractual obligations to A, even if C agrees to accept them.

Now, T4 requested repairs from L, but he should have made such requests to T2. Absent a statute allowing T4 to file an action against L (and vice versa), does T4 have any chance of a successful claim for damages or a defense against a suit for nonpayment?


Absolutely. I'm not positive, but I think that people will have to run through intermediaries unless there has been an assignment (and even then privity of contract might exist).

For example, let's say that instead of the tenant suing for damages, the landlord sues for failure to pay rent. L would sue T1, T1 would indemnify T2, T2 would indeminify T3, T3 would indeminify T4, T4 would asset some warranty eviction covenant of don't be a dick landlord bla bla bla as a defense.

Your chart seems to imply that making an assignment removes the original privity of contract. I'm not sure that's true. But this is stuff I haven't studied well enough to be sure, so I am going to stop typing now :P




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