Erickson v. Propp

Decision Date18 December 1908
Citation119 N.W. 390,106 Minn. 238
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court


Appeal from District Court, Polk County; William Watts, Judge.

Action by J. A. Erickson against Theo O. Propp. Verdict for plaintiff. From an order denying a new trial, defendant appeals. Affirmed.

Syllabus by the Court

A landlord, under a lease expressly exempting him from any obligation to the tenant to make repairs or improvements upon or about the leased premises during the life of the lease, is not liable to the tenant for damages to his goods occasioned by the imperfect condition of the leased premises, and may recover the rental agreed upon.

Oral evidence of a previous agreement by the landlord to repair was not admissible. L. E. Gossman and H. L. Gaylord, for appellant.

P. R. Lavik, for respondent.


This was an action brought to recover a balance of $80 claimed to be due for the use of a part of a building owned by the plaintiff by the defendant. A written lease was executed on the day on which defendant took possession of the rented part of the building. The total rent for the year was $96, payable at the rate of $8 per month in advance. The first month's rent was paid at the time of the making of the lease. The second month's rent was paid about May 4, 1906. After that the defendant paid no rent. The written lease, in the ordinary form, provided, inter alia, that there should not be ‘any liability or obligation on the part of the lessor to make any alteration or make any improvements or repairs of any kind in or about the premises,’ and that the liability of the lessee for rent should cease in case the building, without fault or neglect on the part of the lessee, be destroyed or so injured as to be untenantable. In the third month defendant served written notice on plaintiff that the building was untenantable. The building was not repaired. In the latter part of the month, the defendant moved out the greater part of his machinery. There was, however, testimony tending to show that defendant remained in possession and used the premises for practically the remainder of the year.

The gist of defendant's case was this: The verbal agreement was made before the signing of the lease to improve and repair the roof immediately so that it would not leak. The roof was never improved or repaired, but continued to leak, whereby the building was rendered of no rental value. Without the improvements the building was of no rental value. Defen...

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