Moving Out? Take Your Stuff.

A landlord tries to stretch a lease provision about elements connected to the building into a claim on a tenant's dust collection system. Fat chance. January 2, 2012

We are moving shop and our current landlord is telling us that the dust collector that we bought and paid for is his because it is "installed"(ducted through and exterior wall) in his building. Anyone ever have any experiences with this? We have up until today had a great relationship for 11 years and never been late with rent and owe him no money.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor B:
It was paid for by you, never intended, nor is, real property. It is chattel property just like the table saw. He's nuts, you win. You, however, may have to pay to fix the hole.

From the original questioner:
We were certainly planning to patch any holes.

From contributor R:
Your only obligation is to patch the hole as previously mentioned.

From contributor K:
I agree with others. Tell him that's like you saying you get to keep my tablesaw because it is "installed" into the outlet in your wall. If he wants to push it, tell him fine, you get to keep the ducting in the wall (then you don't have to patch the wall) and I get what's connected to it, just like with the tablesaw.

From contributor G:
There is often a clause in the lease that says anything that is connected into the building becomes the property of the lessor. I remember having to specifically exclude my fluorescent lights from the contract so I could take them with me when I moved. I believe he may own the section of duct that actually goes through the wall if he wants it, but the rest is yours. The lease was never meant to be interpreted the way your landlord is trying to.

From contributor M:
I believe these clauses exist more or less to protect a landlord in case a tenant wants money for any renovation work or improvements they made to the building. I think itís pretty obvious in this situation he has seen an opportunity where he thinks he can make money. I can't imagine that a judge would side with him but you never know. If you are talking about more than just a few grand, I would consult an attorney. A simple letter may be all that's needed to solve this.

From the original questioner:
We're talking about a 20k dust collector. Glad to hear that it sounds like all will be good. I'm actually really surprised at this turn of events. We have been good friends for 11 years now. It seems very odd that he would try to go this direction.

From contributor V:
If the duct work is attached to the building, then he might have a claim on that but he doesn't have a claim in the dust collector itself. What's he going to do to prevent you from moving it? About the only thing he can do is call the police, so you should have your receipts and documentation available in case he does. He could lock you out, but not legally. If you are currently in the process of moving, then I would move the DC ASAP.

From contributor C:
Put the machine on the trailer/truck and move on.

From the original questioner:
That's exactly what we'll be doing. I wasn't too worried or concerned but wanted to confirm my beliefs. We won't be moving for a couple of months at this point.