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06/22/88 Dell'armi Builders, Inc., v. Mark Johnston Et Al.

June 22, 1988

DELL'ARMI BUILDERS, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT

v.

MARK JOHNSTON ET AL., INDIV. AND/OR D/B/A REHABILITATION CONSULTANTS FOR INDUSTRY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS AND CROSS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

526 N.E.2d 409, 172 Ill. App. 3d 144, 122 Ill. Dec. 150 1988.IL.985

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Angelo D. Mistretta, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the opinion of the court. WHITE, P.J., and McNAMARA, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE FREEMAN

Defendants, Mark Johnston and John Allen, sued individually and/or d/b/a Rehabilitation Consultants for Industry, and Rehabilitation Consultants for Industry, appeal from the trial court's judgment in favor of plaintiff, Dell'Armi Builders, Inc., on plaintiff's action to recover rent and other damages. Defendants, lessees under two office lease agreements with plaintiff-lessor, appeal the trial court's rulings that they breached the lease agreements and were not constructively evicted when they abandoned the leasehold premises and failed to pay rent after the abandonment. Plaintiff has filed a cross-appeal challenging the trial court's denial of its request for attorney fees.

For the reasons stated below, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The record indicates that on January 20, 1984, the parties entered into a written lease for office space located in Oak Park, Illinois, for the period from March 1, 1984, to February 28, 1987. On May 1, 1984, the parties executed a second lease for additional office space in the same building in Oak Park for the period from May 15, 1984, to February 28, 1987. On March 24, 1986, defendants notified plaintiff by letter that they considered themselves to have been constructively evicted from the premises due to a continuous leaky roof and other alleged breaches of the office leases. The letter indicated that defendants would vacate the premises on May 31, 1986.

Documents of record also show that on May 9, 1986, defendants executed a lease for different office space, located in Oak Brook, Illinois, with another lessor, the Vantage Group. Defendants contend that it was only after they executed the new lease with the Vantage Group for the premises in Oak Brook that plaintiff repaired the leaky roof on the subject premises. The record indicates that plaintiff repaired the roof on or about May 11, 1986. On June 29 or 30, 1986, defendants vacated the subject premises. Defendants paid rent to plaintiff under the lease up to and including the date they vacated the premises.

Plaintiff's complaint alleges that defendants breached the lease agreements and seeks payments for rent beginning from July 1986 and continuing through the end of the lease term, February 28, 1987. The monthly rent payment provided for in the lease agreements is $2,345.

Defendants assert that plaintiff failed to maintain the premises in good repair, as was required under the leases. Defendants cite the following language contained in both lease agreements.

"Lessor will cause the halls, corridors and other parts of the building adjacent to the Premises to be lighted, cleaned and generally cared for, accidents and unavoidable delays excepted."

Defendants contend that plaintiff failed to keep the premises in good repair, as the roof leaked in the office space leased by defendants and in the corridors and common washroom which was used by defendants' employees. Defendants also complained of unclean washroom facilities and problems in the office with heat, which allegedly was excessive sometimes and insufficient at other times. Defendants contend that the conditions complained of rendered the premises untenantable and justified defendants' vacating the premises.

Plaintiff responds that defendants failed promptly to abandon the premises after they complained. Plaintiff also contends that defendants admitted that the premises were in good ...


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