Web Host Withholds Rent, Gets Evicted

A web hosting firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan was evicted from its building this week after it withheld rent to draw attention to maintenance problems.

A web hosting firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan was evicted from its building this week after it withheld rent to draw attention to maintenance problems. Internet Applications & Solutions (IAS) was apparently hoping that its rent strike would convince its landlord to address the company's concerns about mold in the building.

IAS says it was already planning to relocate from the Northern Brewery building, but before it could move it found its equipment on the curb Monday morning. The Ann Arbor News reports that the landlord and tenant had a court dispute prior to the eviction. After being offline for a day, IAS has resumed services from the Michigan Information Technology Center in Ann Arbor. IAS said most customers were back online by 4:30 pm Tuesday.

The eviction was an unpleasant surprise for IAS customers, including the Ann Arbor Transportation Company, Ann Arbor Community Foundation and at least one local bank. Most IAS clients were back online Wednesday, but not before a day of downtime and confusion in which competing web hosting firms wooed them with promotions.

IAS was founded in 1994, and at one time hosted sites for Lionel Trains, Team Penske Racing, The Weather Underground and Detroit Diesel, a major manufacturer of diesel generators used in data centers.

Doug Smith, a representative of the building's owner, cited "chronic late payment of rent" as the cause for the eviction. IAS co-owner Arthur Talbot said his firm withheld some rent payment because of poor maintenance. "We're just really disappointed about the whole outcome," Talbot told the Ann Arbor News. "We had to pay pretty significant legal costs to get the building taken care of and make it healthy for our staff. This has been the single largest disruption in our services." In blog comments on the Ann Arbor Chronicle web site, Talbot said the building had a "substantial" mold problem.

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