Benderson paid partial rent when it began leasing the space in May 2003, escalating its monthly rent payments as additional space was sub-leased, according to its legal papers. Benderson exercised its option to renew the lease, starting a second 10-year term in June 2013.
Since the 2013 renewal, ECMC has accepted the $1,405 monthly rent every month without objection, until September, according to Benderson’s lawsuit against ECMC.
ECMC approved every use in the lobby, including a “coffee/bagel/donut/pastry shop (or any combination thereof)” and a “sandwich/salad shop,” Chait said.
The September letter asserted for the first time that six years earlier, in 2014, the “full rent commencement date” had occurred, triggering a higher rent, according to the lawsuit.
Benderson found the letter contradictory.
“The notice letter states that rent increased to $1,633 in 2014 because all rentable space was sub-leased at that time. But then, it claims that the proper rent amount became $1,796 one year earlier, in 2013, when Benderson exercised its renewal option,” according to the lawsuit. “The notice letter does not state which of these two amounts ECMC claims should be paid. Nor does the notice letter advise of what action ECMC demanded in order to cure this purported default.”