West v. United States Postal Service Case Brief

Summary of West v. United States Postal Service (1995).

Facts: P lent money to RPP; the loan was secured by a parcel of land; RPP leased the property to the D, who then subleased parts of the land to others. The heating and air conditioning needed repair, so D made the repairs itself. The D claims that it is entitled to be reimbursed for the costs of the repairs, and that the P had constructive notice of the need for repair. The P claimed that the language of the lease is clear, and under it the D failed or refused to perform accordingly.

Issue: Whether D may reimburse itself for the repairs made out of rents it has collected from the subleases.

Holding: No.

Issue: Whether the D complied with the terms of the lease to permit it to deduct the cost of the repairs from the rents.

Holding: No.

Rule: It was an express condition of the lease that “unless" and “until" the notice was given to the Lessor, the D could not cancel the lease, or make repairs and charge the costs against rents.

Rationale: Under the lease between D and RPP, RPP was required to maintain its properties, and if repairs were needed, the Lessor (RPP) was required to make them to the satisfaction of the D. However, the D was required to first give the Lessor written notice of the need of repairs, and to allow them 30 days to do so. If they didn’t fix the problem within 30 days, then the D could make the repairs themselves, and deduct the costs from their rent payment, or cancel the lease. The evidence is clear that the D did not comply with these terms before they made the repairs themselves. The D breached the contract by failing to give P the required notices and is therefore not entitled to offset the costs of repairing the heating and A/C unit.

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