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Ray v. Petro

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

January 9, 2015

DONNA RAY
v.
ANGELA PETRO

Assigned On Briefs December 4, 2014

Direct Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 2C-4996 Carol Soloman, Judge

Elaine Heard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donna Ray.

Sean W. Lyons, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Angela Petro.

Brandon O. Gibson, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Kenny Armstrong, J., joined.

OPINION

BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE

Background

Appellant Angela Petro[1] ("Petro" or "Lessor") is the owner and operator of Vanity Salon and Spa. Appellee Donna Ray ("Ray" or "Lessee") is an independent cosmetologist who was primarily engaged in the business of providing manicures and pedicures to customers. On or about July 22, 2011, Petro and Ray executed a "Lease Contract, " wherein Petro leased a room of approximately fifty (50) square feet in Vanity Salon and Spa to Ray. Among other things, the Lease Contract provided:

1. The Lessor leases to the Lessee commencing the 22ndnday [sic] of July 2011, and ending on the 23rd day of July 2012, a room of approximately 50 square feet including a pedicure chair, stool and, [sic] sink, with vanity manicure table and two chairs within the room area.
2. Lessee agrees to pay Lessor rent in the sum of One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150) per week for room rental only. Additional product usage to be paid to the Lessor by the Lessee cost plus 10%. Rental payments are due and payable by noon on the Friday preceding the workweek. Applicable product usage payments, if any, are due at this time for the previous week. Rent payments not received by noon on Friday shall be charged a 10% late penalty to be included at the time the late rent is received.
11. Should Lessee fail to make any payment of rent or any other payment required to be made to Lessee hereunder, or should Lessee attempt to assign the agreement or sublease the room without having obtained Lessor's written consent, or should any other provision of this lease not be met, Lessor may, at his [sic] option, with or without notice or demand, terminate this agreement. In this event, Lessee shall immediately surrender possession of the room to Lessor. . . .
12. Either party may terminate agreement for any reason by providing to the other party thirty (30) days written notice of such intent. Lessee shall be liable to pay rent as it accrues during this period, as well as pay any sums due Lessor under the terms of the Agreement, and shall return all keys to the premises to Lessor at the expiration of that period.

(Emphasis in original.)

One of Ray's rental payments was due on January 13, 2012. Ray paid $150 in rent via a check dated January 16, 2012. Another rental payment was due on January 20, 2012. Ray paid $150 in rent via a check dated January 21, 2012. At some point on January 21, 2012, Petro had some conversation with Ray about changing the amount of her rent. Although the record on appeal is unclear about the timing of events on January 21, 2012, Petro also prepared two letters to Ray with the date of January 21, 2012. One letter notified Ray that "10% late fees have been assessed for January 13 and January 20, 2012." Another letter from Petro to Ray stated "[p]lease ...


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