Who is responsible for making the repairs necessary to bring restaurant up to code? 1 Answers as of March 21, 2011

I recently signed a lease to rent restaurant space. A week in, I discovered broken pipes. Turns out that along with the broken pipes, the grease traps in the restaurant had not been cleaned in over 2 years, which caused a backflow problem. I immediately contacted the owner of the building, who made no effort to pay for the problem. I got 3 estimates for the repairs. The owner contacted me and told me that the amount that I had been quoted for the repairs was "too much money" and that she wasn't willing to pay that much, but she was going to send her landscaper over to replace the pipes. The next day, she contacted me to tell me that he said that he would not be able to do the repairs, and told me to negotiate the price with the plumber so that I would not have to pay that much.
I met with a county inspector, who informed me that the grease traps were not up to code. He told me what needed to be done, and I contacted a plumber. I also contacted the owner with a detailed email that included everything that the inspector told me that needed to be done. In response, she basically informed me that the space was rented to me "as is", and that the company "does not run a restaurant business nor restaurant equipment servicing. It is not our company's duty or responsibility to provide you with the establishment of your business. Our company is just responsible for renting out the space together with its contents. It is up to the tenant to create a functioning business".

A few pertinent details- the space was rented to me with all of the equipment needed to run the restaurant, with the exception of a stove. The owner represented the space as a fully functional restaurant space. There is verbiage in my lease that states acknowledgement that the premises are "fit for its stated use". The code that governs the grease traps was changed in 2007, which was 2 years before the last tenant left.

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Goolsby Law Office
Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
I strongly recommend that you make an appointment and promptly see an attorney in your community and go over your lease agreement, as well as to discuss all your rights and options. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 3/21/2011
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