Update at 3:21 p.m. Tuesday: Dallas Comedy House owner Amanda Austin says her landlord, Black Market Investments, gave her an eviction notice Thursday to be out by Sunday. Today, she is not out and there are no chains on the door.
"We received a second notice to terminate tenancy on May 17, 2018," Austin says. "We are compliant with our lease."
An anonymous complaint was sent to the fire marshal stating both buildings that make up Dallas Comedy House were over capacity, thus creating a fire hazard. Of the two buildings, only one is open to the public, that being the home to DCH’s two theaters and bar area. The other building directly next to the showroom area is for private offices and to teach comedy classes DCH says. Anyone who has access to the second building would either be an employee of DCH or someone who has registered and paid to take a class.
Representatives of the fire marshal's office arrived at DCH around 8:30 p.m. last Tuesday and after a brief walk-through of both buildings with owner Amanda Austin left around 9 p.m. Neither space was found to be overcapacity and there were no instructions from the fire marshal to make any changes to be compliant for the future. The bar and showroom building opens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights to accommodate free stand-up and improv shows.
Things had been relatively quiet between Austin and her new landlord, Black Market Investments, since the company unsuccessfully tried to boot the comedy club out of the buildings this spring. This surprise inspection during business hours comes after third-party inspectors hired by Black Market Investments did an in-depth inspection of the property May 8.
Austin says the third-party inspectors were there from 2 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. to check the state of both buildings. Austin is not allowed to engage or ask questions during these particular inspections, and the third-party company does not share any findings with Austin.
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As previously reported, after Black Market bought the property in January, they sent multiple notices to Austin stating she was not up to code with the two buildings, resulting in Austin receiving an official notice to vacate by April 16. Austin and her legal counsel contested the claims by Black Market, stating they were compliant with their lease, and business at Dallas Comedy House has continued smoothly since until May 15, when the fire marshal arrived unannounced to inspect the property.
No further notices of infractions have been received by Austin since the notice to vacate in April.
“We continue to be in compliant with our lease, and we are under capacity,” Austin says.
Requests for an interview with the fire marshal's office and Black Market went unanswered.