The following story is a fictionalized version of a real event reflecting laws that may not apply to your jurisdiction. This article is produced for entertainment purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Readers are advised to seek legal advice relevant to their circumstances, the jurisdiction in which their matter pertains to and the laws in place therein.


“This would make a perfect dance studio for my new school!” Jean admired the huge windowed room overlooking the river.

“And there’s a great spot for the reception area” piped in Jean’s mother and office manager. “What does your former coach Ludmilla think?”

“She loves it. Her classes would be great in here, especially her famous jump combinations and her-”

“Jump combinations?” interrupted Bruce, the owner of the building. “That sounds awfully noisy. The restaurant downstairs wouldn’t like that.”

“Don’t worry,” declared Jean, “this is a children’s school. The kids hardly make a sound when they jump.”

Jean signed the lease. After some renovations, she proudly opened her school. The studio sparkled with fresh paint, mirrors, ballet barres and a special dance floor.

The waiting area was filled with people – all adults.

“Who are all these adults, mom? And where are the students?” whispered Jean.

“These adults are the students. This is Ludmilla’s class”

“But her class is for intermediate ballet ages 10-12!”

“Well, it’s now novice ballet ages 25-70. We’ve got to go with the market, dear.”

Jean later looked in on the class as Ludmilla barked out orders during the grands-jetes.

“Vat eez dees…Elephants? I vant you jump like gazzelle! Such noise, I hear even building shake!”

Jean laughed. Maybe these adult classes would work out after all. But then she broke into a cold sweat. The building really was shaking! She rushed to the phone.

“Bruce, there’s a terrible problem!”

“No kidding! The restaurant just called in a panic. I’ll have a steel beam installed.”

But the students continued to jump like elephants and the building continued to shake.

“Sorry Jean,” Bruce finally concluded, “My whole building is at risk with your heavy-footed dancers. You’ll have to stop teaching dance or leave.”

“But what about all the money I spent on the improvements? You owe me that much.” But Bruce refused to reimburse Jean. So Jean took Bruce to court.


“Your Honour,” Jean argued, “My mother and my former coach said the space was perfect for classes. And Bruce never mentioned any structural problems. I had to move and make changes to another building. Bruce benefited from the changes I made to his building. Make him pay for them.”

“Jean told me the classes were for children.” Bruce responded. “I would never have allowed a school for adults. The special beam I paid for didn’t work. The building could have collapsed!”

“Besides, I lost rental income when Jean left. I don’t owe her for the improvements.”

Should Bruce pay Jean for the improvements she made to Bruce’s building? You! Be The Judge. Then look below for the court’s decision.

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“Bruce doesn’t have to pay for the improvements,” said the court. “Once Jean made those improvements, they became part of Bruce’s property. Since it was Jean’s responsibility to make sure the building could support the dance classes, Bruce had every right to ask her to leave. In fact, Jean was lucky Bruce tried to help by installing a beam.”