Monday, May 01, 2006

A Commercial Rental Story

This letter was sent to us for inclusion as a news story in the Notebook. It is, in fact, an introductory letter followed by the original piece. We give it to our readership for enlightenment and a look at retail life for a renter on the Hill. There are two letters. This is the warm up.

Hi, Mary Harris here.

I was hoping [to] give you an unedited copy of my full letter to the editor [of the Local which describes, in great detail, the many problems I encountered renting from Sanjiv Jain this past few years. While I was hoping my letter would shed some light on Mr. Jain's unfair and bordering on illegal business practices, Ms. Stanley had to edit it severely due to the highly-biased nature of my disclosures.

Since all of Mr. Jain's 20-plus page leases include a severe gag clause forbidding the renter to say anything negative about Mr. Jain during the term of the lease, it is all but impossible to hear any of the numerous reports of his dishonorable business practices that are whispered in private rather than risk serious legal ramifications that are restated over and over in the lease.

It is unfortunate, as I am the only person I know, to date, who has finished out a commercial lease and can comment without fear of legal repercussions. It should be made public that paying one's rent on time, every month, plus the bogus triple net fees stated in one's lease, does not ensure a refund of security deposit. In my case, rather than get the entire $4,000 deposit I made upon signing, I was presented with a bill for almost $10,000 and told I wasn't given the required yearly estimates and updates because Mr. Jain lacked a bookkeeper for those three years, but miraculously found one in time to gather enough receipts to justify charging me the additional $9,700 at the end.

The list of grievances is long, I hope you decide to print it, since no one else can disclose this kind of info for fear of legal consequences. I am also happy to provide a copy of the lease that Mr. Jain presented me with for the Yankee Candle space, in which he vindictively reneged on our verbally-agreed upon terms (there were witnesses) after the owner of the Antique Shop used my name while verbally attacking Mr. Jain's business practices at a meeting the night before I was to receive my lease. This lease is wiildly amusing and shocking, as the gag clause, which was only a few sentences long in my first lease, grew to a huge paragraph detailing every possible medium in which I was forbidden to communicate anything negative about Mr. Jain (written, verbal, non-verbal, gestural, etc.) and the consequences were a one day eviction, forfeiture of all rents paid, and a $10,000 fine if I didn't leave within 24 hours, ALL AT THE WHIM AND DISCRETION OF MR. JAIN AT ANY TIME (It's actually in caps and repeated at least 6 times in the lease). It makes for a good read, so ask if you want a copy.

I have many horror stories, it gets boring, but the major point is that the reason you don't hear anything negative about Mr. Jain from anyone that's actually done business with him is the gag clause.

Mary Harris

Her original letter will be posted tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"However, the EEOC recently successfully argued that gag clauses are, at least in part, a violation of public policy and unenforceable."

"The obvious organizational value of a gag clause is that the employer escapes with its reputation intact and other individuals are not given additional motivation to pursue similar claims."

Tue May 02, 01:53:00 AM EDT  

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