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When should you sue your commercial landlord?

As a business tenant in Idaho, you have the right to expect that your commercial landlord will provide a safe, habitable property where you can operate your business. This may not be the case, which may warrant legal action. You may have other alternatives to change or terminate your lease, but if you have tried all other options, you may need to sue your landlord.

Alternatives to litigation

You might not need to file a lawsuit if you can amend your lease or get out of it altogether. Consider each of the following steps to see if you can achieve your desired outcome while avoiding real estate litigation:

  • Review your lease carefully and focus on clauses or provisions regarding early lease termination and related penalties.
  • Find a new tenant to take over your space, which might ease your transition out of the lease since you have helped out your landlord.
  • Speak with the landlord, who might be more willing than you thought to negotiate new lease terms or a termination that works for both of you.
  • Take a risk and break your lease, then see if your landlord sends their attorneys after you; they might not.

When to sue

You can sue and ask for damages if your commercial landlord has violated any part of your lease, such as failing to make necessary repairs or not maintaining a safe environment. You can ask the court to void your lease, which will let you relocate without paying any early lease termination penalty. Before going this route, review your lease to see if it contains a clause specifying that you must go to mediation for lease disputes rather than court.

You can sue for your landlord’s lack of action, such as neglecting to address issues that make it impossible to conduct business or committing acts that disrupt your business operations. You can also sue for your landlord’s negligence if it has caused damage to your business property or inventory. You could pursue a claim for the cost of repairs or reimbursement.


If you complain about the property’s condition or choose to sue your landlord, they cannot legally retaliate. If your landlord takes adverse actions against you, you could have grounds to sue based on their retaliation.

Suing your landlord may be necessary to protect your business and your rights as a commercial tenant. Understanding your rights and options can save you time, money, and protect your business.