Legal disputes can arise in various areas of life, including business and property matters. Obtaining timely legal counsel is imperative in order to proactively address potential disputes or safeguard your rights in situations where disagreements may arise. In this blog post, we will explore the case of Mississauga Hardware Centre Inc. v. Prombank Investment Limited, 2023 ONSC 3034 (“Mississauga Hardware v Prombank”), highlighting the importance of obtaining legal advice when negotiating contracts and navigating complex legal situations effectively.
Mississauga Hardware, a tenant in a shopping plaza owned by Prombank, asked the Court for an injunction to stop Prombank from shutting down the main access to the plaza for several hours every Saturday. Mississauga Hardware claimed that this unilateral action by Prombank adversely affected its business. Prombank argued that it was acting in compliance with the provisions of the Lease signed by the parties. Prombank cited traffic/parking congestion as the primary reason for the closure of the access route, attributing traffic volume to the influx of customers visiting a nearby go-kart facility.
Mississauga Hardware alleged that Prombank’s actions constituted a breach of the Lease in three ways: violation of an implied covenant for quiet enjoyment, breach of the doctrine of non-derogation from grant, and failure to act in good faith. Mississauga Hardware sought injunctive relief to remove the barriers that impeded its customers from access to its business.
Prombank contended that it had the right to control access to the plaza as provided in the Lease. It argued that the barriers placed at the Eglinton Avenue access were a minor inconvenience and that Mississauga Hardware had not taken necessary measures to mitigate any loss of business including advice to its customers to use the alternate exit from the plaza.
The key issue in this case was whether Prombank should be prohibited from preventing access to the parking lot. The Court applied a three-part test for injunctive relief. Mississauga had to prove the existence of a serious issue to be tried, show potential irreparable harm, and a balance of convenience in its favour. Additionally, the Court referred to relevant legal rights of a tenant such as the covenant for quiet enjoyment and the doctrine of non-derogation from grant.
Mississauga Hardware contended that Prombank violated the implied covenant for quiet enjoyment, which safeguards the tenant’s right to undisturbed and unimpaired use of the leased premises. In assessing the matter, the Court considered various factors, including the timing and duration of the barrier placement and their impact on business operations. After thorough consideration, the Court determined that it would be a breach of the covenant if the barriers significantly impeded Mississauga Hardware’s customer’s access during the week. However, given the limited duration of the barrier closures and the fact that they occurred only once a week, the Court ultimately concluded that Prombank had not breached the covenant of quiet enjoyment.
Prombank claimed that it had the contractual right to make changes to the plaza property, as long as it did not unduly interfere with the tenant’s business. The Court determined that Prombank’s decision to lower the barriers between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays, due to parking issues caused by a nearby Go Kart facility, was reasonable. It emphasized that Mississauga Hardware’s customers could use the alternative entrance and suggested that it could provide notice of its business hours and any restrictions on its website.
This case serves as a compelling testament to the wisdom of seeking legal advice when entering into Leases or other contracts thereby avoiding potential disputes. By availing oneself of legal counsel prior to entering a contract, both individuals and businesses can gain insight into the potential risks and benefits associated with the agreement. Without the guidance of competent legal assistance, parties may inadvertently fail to assert their rights effectively or grasp the nuances of contractual terms and obligations. Appropriate legal advice equips parties with the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of the legal system, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of their rights and responsibilities. Moreover, in the unfortunate event of a dispute, those who have sought legal counsel are better prepared to present their case in the most persuasive and compelling manner.
The Commercial Real Estate Lawyers at Duncan, Linton LLP in Waterloo Provide Comprehensive Legal Representation in Contract Disputes
At Duncan, Linton LLP, our commercial litigation lawyers have extensive experience assisting individuals and businesses in comprehending the intricacies of contracts prior to their execution. We are dedicated to representing clients diligently and skillfully when conflicts arise, providing effective solutions and advocating on their behalf. To speak with one of our lawyers, please contact us online at [email protected] or by phone at 519-886-3340 to schedule a consultation.