Web Host Withholds Rent, Gets Evicted

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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.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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7 Comments

  1. Curious about the reference to The Weather Underground. Ancient history, I guess as I've consulted for them in the past, and have worked in their San Francisco datacenter in the past few years.

  2. fanaticrazy

    All your servers are belong to us!

  3. akelly

    Online Technologies Corporation is offering offer immediate assistance, including 1 month free email, website and shared server colocation, for disrupted IAS customers. Those affected should visit our website at http://www.onlinetech.com.

  4. sheesh

    akelly, please don't advertise here. thanks.

  5. John Kimmel

    Will OTC please stop trying to grab business!! Jeez - every article on this topic has comments by OTC - do they have a marketing program aimed at failing companies? Also, I don't know the whole story here, but the companies listed above are ancient history as suggested - I know the Penske business left quite a while ago, and Wunderground did indeed share office space with IAS in 1995 or so. Also I heard that they were almost evicted from their last office for similar non-payment of rent - so I don't know about the whole mold story... sounds like an excuse to me.