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California landlord sues WeWork over construction noise

A California landlord has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the troubled coworking company WeWork. In a lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Sept. 24, the landlord claims that WeWork frequently engages in noisy and disruptive construction activity during normal working hours in clear violation of its lease agreement. The lawsuit is another setback for a company that is having trouble filling office space and has seen its value plummet in the wake of a failed initial public offering.

WeWork signed a 10-year lease for 13 floors of a Sansone Street office building located in San Francisco's Financial District in November 2018. The company planned to have the space occupied by June, but the breach of contract lawsuit claims that it did not even start tenant improvement work until May. This became an issue when two of the building's other tenants made noise complaints.

A think tank complained in mid-May about constant drilling and hammering. A private school made similar complaints in August as it prepared for the new academic year. The school said that the noise made holding productive classes impossible. The landlord says that WeWork promised to stop work being performed during business hours in a letter sent in August. The lawsuit, which seeks injunctive relief and unspecified punitive damages, was filed only after WeWork failed to follow through on this promise according to the landlord. A WeWork representative declined to comment about ongoing litigation.

Breach of contract lawsuits can be extremely complex when the wording of provisions is unclear or subject to interpretation. Attorneys with business law experience may seek to avoid protracted litigation by ensuring that parties understand their rights and responsibilities under a contract before the document is signed, and they may also check the contract carefully to ensure that the language used is unambiguous and specific.

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