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In the Greater Boston Real Estate Board Standard Lease Form, Section 8, it says

In the event the Lessor is not able through no fault of his own to deliver the leased premises to the Lessee at the time called for herein, the rent shall be abated on a pro rata basis [...], which abatement shall constitute full settlement of all damages caused by such delay, or the Lessor, at his election, shall be allowed reasonable time to deliver possession of the leased premises, and if he cannot deliver such possession within 30 days from the beginning of said term, either the Lessor or Lessee may then terminate this lease [...]

This seems to say that if landlord can't deliver premises at the specified time (through no fault of his own at the specified time), he can either pro-rate rent, or continue not delivering the premises for 30 days, after which he can just terminate the lease.

Does this allow a landlord to easily terminate the lease within the first 30 days, as long as he never delivers the premises?

I'm assuming that it would be easy to prove that it was initially through no fault of his own ("The contractors showed up late/took longer than expected"). Obviously I don't think it's very likely that a landlord would forego an entire lease worth of rent instead of pro-rating, but landlords can be sleazy and weird.

  • This is saying, "If a water pipe bursts, or the place burns down", the landlord is not obligated to do the impossible: Repair the place immediately. It does not mean the landlord can just choose not to fulfill the lease. – abelenky Aug 28 at 15:51
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The key here is the provision "through no fault of his own". A landlord who relies on this provision would need to be able to demonstrate what the cause of the delay was, and that s/he had not been reasonably able to avoid it. Nor could a landlord simply fail to take steps to repair the problem, whatever it might be. If the problem will clearly take more than 30 days to fix (Isay the building burned down), the prospective tenant would have the right to cancel the lease at once. True, in such a case the tenant would be put to the trouble and expense of finding another place at short notice, but then the landlord would have lost his income from the property. The provision allocates the losses between the parties in such a case.

If the property is not available at the specified time for the lease to start, but could be available a few days later, the quoted provision would not allow the landlord to just ignore the situation and end the lease. The landlord is allowed only a "reasonable time" to fix the problem, and taking significantly longer than is needed would not be "reasonable".

  • "and that s/he had not been able to avoid it" I'd read that clause as "and that s/he couldn't in any reasonable way prevent it". – Bakuriu Aug 28 at 19:07
  • @Bakuriu You have a point -- answer edited. – David Siegel Aug 28 at 19:12

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