Landt v. Schneider

Citation77 P. 307,31 Mont. 15
PartiesLANDT et al. v. SCHNEIDER.
Decision Date27 June 1904
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

Commissioners' Opinion. Appeal from District Court, Fergus County; E. K Cheadle, Judge.

Action by Louis Landt and others against E. G. Schneider. From a judgment in favor of defendant, plaintiff's appeal. Affirmed.

Blackford & Blackford, for appellants.


On February 26, 1900, the plaintiffs, Landt, Ritter, and Buxman leased to defendant, Schneider, and one Fleiner certain property for the term of one year. Schneider acquired the interest of Fleiner in the lease, and on the 10th of September, 1900, it was agreed between plaintiff's and defendant, Schneider, that the time of the lease should be extended for an additional year from the 26th day of February, 1901. Schneider occupied the premises until the 25th day of February, 1901. This action was to obtain a judgment against Schneider for the rent claimed to be due for the time named in the extension of the lease. Trial by jury. Verdict and judgment for defendant. Appeal from the judgment and from an order overruling plaintiffs' motion for a new trial.

The defense is to the effect: (a) That defendant surrendered the possession of the premises at the close of one year, and that plaintiff Landt accepted the same. (b) That the buildings leased were occupied, and intended to be occupied, by human beings; that the same had become unfit for such occupancy that the lessors had been notified, and had failed and refused to make repairs.

1. Where material facts relative to the surrender to and acceptance by the lessor of leased premises are in dispute, the question thus presented is to be determined by the jury; but in this case, for reasons hereinafter stated, we can only say generally that leaving the key of the leased building at the lessor's place of business over the protest of the lessor, and in spite of his refusal to accept the premises demised, is not such an acceptance by the lessor as will relieve the lessee from the payment of rent. Blake v. Dick, 15 Mont. 236, 38 P. 1072, 48 Am. St. Rep. 671.

2. It is an elementary principle of law that, in the absence of a statute or agreement, there is no implied warranty that leased premises are suitable for the purposes for which they are demised, or that the lessor will keep the property in repair. York v. Steward, 21 Mont. 515, 55 P. 29, 43 L. R. A. 125; Petz v. Voigt Brewery Co., 116 Mich. 418, 74 N.W. 651, 72 Am. St. Rep. 531; Davidson v. Fischer (Colo.) 7 Am. St. Rep. 267, and note; Minneapolis C. Co. v. Williamson (Minn.) 38 Am. St. Rep. 473, and note; Hines v. Willcox, 34 L. R. A. 824, note. Sections 2620, 2621, Civ. Code, provide, however, that, where the building leased is intended for the use and occupation of human beings, the lessor must, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, put it in a condition fit for such occupation, and must repair all subsequent dilapidations, etc.; that, if he does not make such repairs within a reasonable time after notice, the lessee may repair the same, where the cost does not exceed one month's rent, or may vacate the premises, in which case the lessee shall be discharged from the further payment of rent. The decision in York v. Steward, above cited, was based on a state of facts arising prior to the enactment of this statute, and merely holds to the common-law doctrine, without making reference to the statute, though the decision was not rendered until subsequent to the enactment of the sections above referred to. This statute, however, is confined to property used for dwelling-house purposes, and is not applicable to business property. Edmison v. Asleson (Dak.) 27 N.W. 82; Minneapolis C. Co. v. Williamson, supra.

3. The lease between the parties describes the property as "the Maiden brewery plant *** comprising about four and one-half acres of ground together with the brewery building and machinery and appliances and appurtenances thereto belonging or in any wise appertaining." The written agreement extending the lease does not give any further description of the property leased. It was denied in the answer that the lessor had any land, and alleged that the building was situate upon government land. No proof, so far as this record shows, appears to have been introduced upon this subject by either party. There is nothing in the description of the property contained in the lease by which it can be determined from the lease itself whether it was intended for occupation by human beings or not, and this was one of the issues made by the pleadings. Parol evidence was admissible under these issues to explain the purposes for which the property was...

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