Myles M. Mattenson
5550 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Suite 200
Woodland Hills, California 91367
Telephone (818) 313-9060
Facsimile (818) 313-9260

      Myles M. Mattenson engages in a general civil and trial practice including litigation and transactional services relating to the coin laundry and dry cleaning industries, franchising, business, purchase and sale of real estate, easements, landlord-tenant, partnership, corporate, insurance bad faith, personal injury, and probate legal matters.

      In providing services to the coin laundry and dry cleaning industries, Mr. Mattenson has represented equipment distributors, coin laundry and dry cleaning business owners confronted with landlord-tenant issues, lease negotiations, sale documentation including agreements, escrow instructions, and security instruments, as well as fraud or misrepresentation controversies between buyers and sellers of such businesses.

      Mr. Mattenson serves as an Arbitrator for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He is also past chair of the Law Office Management Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mr. Mattenson received his Bachelor of Science degree (Accounting) in 1964 and his Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1967.

      Bi-monthly articles by Mr. Mattenson on legal matters of interest to the business community appear in alternate months in The Journal, a leading coin laundry industry publication of the Coin Laundry Association, and Fabricare, a leading dry cleaning industry publication of the International Fabricare Institute. During the period of May 1995 through September 2002, Mr. Mattenson contributed similar articles to New Era Magazine, a coin laundry and dry cleaning industry publication which ceased publication with the September 2002 issue.

      This website contains copies of Mr. Mattenson's New Era Magazine articles which can be retrieved through a subject or chronological index. The website also contains copies of Mr. Mattenson's Journal and Fabricare articles, which can be retrieved through a chronological index.

      In addition to Mr. Mattenson's trial practice, he has successfully prosecuted and defended appeals on behalf of his clients in various areas of the law. Some of these appellate decisions are contained within his website.


The most important asset of your coin laundry business is your lease.  Washers and dryers produce little income in storage or in a parking lot!

As you probably know, coin laundry operators are repeatedly advised to enter into long-term lease arrangements, including options, to preserve the value of the business.  It is difficult to sell a coin laundry when there is only six months remaining under the lease and the lessor appears unwilling to negotiate a new lease.

Many coin laundry operators will negotiate a ten-year term with perhaps two five-year options to renew the lease.  After ten years of doing business with one another, some landlords and tenants become rather casual about certain of their business arrangements.  A landlord is not likely to be casual about the prompt payment of rent, but may not be concerned about whether a written notice to renew a lease is provided by ordinary mail or certified mail, return receipt requested.

Some landlords, however, may be simply waiting for you to forget to exercise the option, or exercise the option in a manner that does not comport with the lease so that they can deny your right to renew and then demand a higher rent, or evict you so that an out-of-work brother-in-law can acquire a coin laundry business!

The general rule regarding the exercise of an option to renew a lease is simply that the tenant must do so within the time, in the manner, and on the terms stated in the lease.  If the lease calls for written notice, a telephone call will not suffice.  If a lease requires registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, the notice must be mailed in that fashion or a tenant risks a rejection of the notice and the possibility of litigation.

In one California case, the landlord claimed it had never received the tenant’s letter exercising the option.  The tenant, on the other hand, claimed it had properly exercised the option and refused to vacate the premises.  Litigation ensued.  The tenant asserted that it had exercised the option and had improved the premises subsequent to the exercise of the option so that the landlord knew, or should have known, that the tenant intended to extend its tenancy.

The lease only required that the option be exercised “in writing” and did not prescribe any particular manner of communicating the written notice to the landlord, such as certified or registered mail.  The landlord contended that since it was entitled to notice of the exercise of the option to renew the lease, the notice was not effective unless it was actually received by the landlord.  The court rejected the argument indicating that a California statute essentially provides that when ordinary mail is permitted or designated, the notice is deemed given upon posting in the mail.

The tenant won this battle, but remember, only “written notice” was required and not “written notice by registered or certified mail.”

In another California action, the court was presented with a declaratory relief action brought by the tenant to determine whether there had been an effective renewal of the lease.

Have you ever wondered about what rents might have been at the intersection of Tenth and Harrison Streets in the City of Oakland in 1925?  In this 1933 California action, the court notes that the lease was initially for a term of five years beginning on July 1, 1925, at the monthly rental of $416.66.  In the event the lease was renewed by the proper exercise of the option, rent was scheduled to increase to $500 per month.

The tenant was required to provide written notice of the exercise of the option 60 days prior to the expiration of the lease; however, he failed to do so.  He did, however, pay to the landlord after the initial expiration of the initial five-year term, the increased rental of $500 per month which was required to be paid by him in the event the lease was in fact renewed.

The court noted that the landlord permitted the tenant to remain in possession and accepted the increased rental from the tenant.  This course of business continued for a period of more than a year without either party questioning the rights of the other.

The court essentially held that the option had been exercised and that the formalities provided in the lease for the renewal had been waived.

In another California decision, a tenant made substantial improvements of the property, believing that the lease had been extended.  The landlord, apparently observing this activity but not objecting to the manner in which the option was exercised, was held to have waived strict compliance with the notice provisions of the lease.

The moral of the story?  Unless you have a taste for litigation, calendar the period within which you are to provide notice of your exercise of the option and provide the notice in the precise manner designated by the lease!

[This column is intended to provide general information only  and
is  not intended to provide specific legal advice; if you have  a
specific  question  regarding the  law,  you  should  contact  an
attorney  of your choice.  Suggestions for topics to be discussed
in this column are welcome.]

Reprinted from The Journal
Myles M. Mattenson © 2007