I leased a commercial building that was currently being built. At the time the physical structure had been completed and all that was left was connecting water and electricity to the building. In the lease agreement we stipulated that rent would be 50% off until the building received full services and then the full rent payment would be due. There was a verbal agreement that the process of "hooking up the water and electric" should take no longer than a few weeks.

It's now been over 3 months since the lease was signed and the building still does not have services. The landlord is slowly installing services but there seems to be a lack of urgency in getting things done. For example, he passed inspection for electric on April 1rst but has yet to schedule a time to put in the utility pole to get electrical service (as of April 29th). I cannot run my business without the electric and water hooked up. I understand there was no stipulation on when or if the electric and water would be installed in the lease agreement, but I'm wondering what I should do in this case. I cannot use the property for my business, nor can I get it insured for theft until electric is installed.

My ideal situation would be that I would recover the amounts that I have paid beyond the first month and discontinue payments until full water and electric is available. This property is ideal for my type of business and it may be difficult to find another due to market circumstances in my area.

The least ideal situation would be to continue paying half rent on a building I can't use indefinitely until the lease term is up.

  • Laws on such matters very by jurisdiction: bu contry, by state o province in many countries, and often even by municipality. In what city, state, and country is this building, please?. Indicating the location may permit a better answer. Also, the exact content of the written lease and of the verbal assurance may make a difference. Also, we cannot tell you what you should do, only indicate what the law permits or requires, and possibly point out legal options. Apr 29, 2022 at 18:23
  • I was told verbally (over phone calls and in-person) that the service would be connected within a few weeks. I combed through my written correspondence with the building owner and we never talked about that in writing. The lease specifically states that electric and water "will be installed" and that rent would be 50% discounted until it is available. It does not indicate a specific timeframe for when those services would be installed. The location is Union, Missouri, United States.
    – haredev
    Apr 29, 2022 at 19:33
  • At the level of detail needed to give a really reliable answer (some important material facts are absent from the question), I believe that answer would amount to specific legal advice, so I'm not going to provide an answer.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 29, 2022 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


In the lease agreement we stipulated that rent would be 50% off until the building received full services and then the full rent payment would be due.

Ouch. I bet the lease agreement also says something like "no other agreements verbal or otherwise are in effect for this agreement." So what you did was release the landlord from the responsibility to make the building habitable. Pretty sure you will need a lawyer to unwind this.

  • Just an update/twist on this: I called the permitting office and they indicated the landlord let his inspection permit lapse last month. In my lease it states that "electric and water will be installed" but doesn't give a specific timeline. Is he required to install it under a "reasonable" timeline?
    – haredev
    May 5, 2022 at 17:36

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