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Weiman v. Butterman

MAY 11, 1970.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JACK ARNOLD WELFELD, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


This is an action based on a written agreement under which plaintiff installed coin-operated washers and dryers in the laundry room of an apartment building. Defendant subsequently purchased the building and plaintiff's machines, after being disconnected, were displaced by similar machines installed by another company. Plaintiff contended the original agreement was a lease, and defendant asserted the agreement was a license. In a non-jury trial, the court found for plaintiff and judgment was entered for $2,775.

On appeal defendant contends (1) that the agreement was a mere license and not binding upon a subsequent purchaser of the building; and (2) that the damages assessed were not supported by the evidence.

On December 18, 1962, plaintiff entered into an agreement with A. Goldsmith, owner of the premises at 725 North Central Avenue in Chicago, covering the installation and operation of coin-operated washers and dryers. The agreement, which was entitled "Lease," contained the following terms:

This lease entered into this 18th day of December, 1962, by and between 725 N. Central Building, hereinafter known as Lessor, and E. Weiman d/b/a Metered Laundry Company, hereinafter known as Lessee.

1. The Lessor hereby rents and leases to said Lessee the premises known as the laundry-room located at the north central section of ground floor being a room approximately 18' x 40', located in the building commonly known as 725 N. Central Ave., Chicago, Ill., for the purpose of installing and operating coin-operated washers and dryers.

2. The term of this lease shall be for five (5) years, beginning the 18th day of December, 1962, and ending the 17th day of December, 1967, with an option on the part of the lessee to renew said lease for an additional period of five (5) years under the same terms and conditions as are contained herein. Lessee is to exercise this option by mail, to the last known address of the Lessor, a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of this lease.

3. The Lessee agrees to pay to the Lessor as and for the rental of the above described premises a sum equal to 25 percent of the gross receipts from the operation of the washers and dryers which will be from time to time operated at said premises. Said Lessee further agrees to pay said amount every six months, beginning the 15th day of January, 1963.

4. Lessor agrees to furnish the Lessee without charge to said Lessee, all necessary electricity, heat, gas and water, both hot and cold, for the continued operation of the washers and dryers installed or to be installed on said premises.

5. Lessor agrees that the title to all washers, dryers and all other equipment necessary for the operation and maintenance of said washers and dryers shall remain in the Lessee at all times, and said Lessee may remove same at the termination of this lease. Lessor further agrees that the Lessee may assign this lease without the consent, either written or oral, of the Lessor.

6. Lessor agrees that for and in consideration of Lessee's rental of the premises above described, Lessor will not during the term of this lease, allow any other coin-operated washer or dryer to be installed or operated in the above described premises.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have caused this lease to be executed under their seals on the date first above written.

Thereafter, plaintiff installed two washers and one dryer with coin boxes in the laundry room, ran an electrical line, a gas line, and made water openings in the laundry room. A sign with plaintiff's name and telephone number was posted in the laundry room close to the equipment. Plaintiff had no key to the laundry room and the door was customarily open day and night.

Defendant purchased the premises from Goldsmith on September 1, 1966. The contract of sale listed as tenants only the apartment dwellers and did not list plaintiff. Plaintiff never spoke to defendant prior to the sale of the building and defendant did not see the agreement between plaintiff and Goldsmith until a number of weeks following defendant's purchase of the building. However, before the purchase, defendant inspected the premises and saw the washers and dryers, but made ...

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