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Landlord sues major retailer for unpaid rent

Is Sears-Roebuck liable if it didn't sign lease extension?

In 1990, Sears-Roebuck signed a 10-year lease in a shopping center for use as a HomeLife furniture store. The lease contained two additional five-year renewal options. HomeLife was a wholly owned Sears subsidiary. In 1998, Sears sold its HomeLife division, retaining a 19 percent ownership interest. Sears sought the consent of the shopping center landlord, JGMCJ, to assign the lease to HomeLife. JGMCJ agreed to the lease assignment with the understanding Sears remained liable for any unpaid rent. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. In 2000, JGMCJ and HomeLife extended the lease for 10 years under the two extension options. The rent was increased at that time. The lease extension said, "This extension shall in no way be considered a waiver of landlord's rights against Sears Roebuck and Co. under the lease." However, Sears did not sign the extension agreement. In 2001, HomeLife filed for bankruptcy and stopped paying rent on Nov. 23, 2001. In 2003, landlord JGMCJ filed this lawsuit a...