Key Considerations in Commercial Landlord/Tenant Leases

We counsel clients on the fine print, legal requirements, and litigation aspects of property leases

For many businesses, leasing is the most viable real estate option. Leases don’t require down payments and long-term commitments. At Gertsburg Licata, our leasing attorneys advise on the practical, financial, and legal factors in choosing to lease rather than purchase real property. Our lawyers have decades of experience negotiating leases before any signatures are placed on the legal document. We counsel clients on the day-to-day issues involved with lease agreements and the monthly and yearly issues, such as responsibilities for repairs, who controls what areas, and what improvements can be made. When necessary, our lawyers litigate landlord/tenant disputes in the proper judicial forums.

Common issues that a lease should address

There are many issues that are unique to specific leasing situations, such as apartment leases, shopping center leases, medical provider leases, and other leases unique to the type of service or product being offered by the tenant. Here are some common issues our attorneys advise lessors and lessees about:

  • Leasing essentials. Leases should address standard issues such as:
    • Rent
    • Security deposits
    • Parking
    • Identification of the precise area being leased
    • When and how the lease can be renewed or terminated
    • The length of the lease
    • Common area charges
    • Many other basic terms
  • Subletting and assignments. The ability to sublet to another tenant or assign the lease to another property owner should be identified in the leasing contract.
  • The possibility of an option to buy. Some leases allow a buyer, after a test period, the right to purchase the property so that competitors can’t acquire the space after your business has made the location successful or just because ownership does have advantages, such as control and tax benefits.
  • Expansion and usage. As the business grows, the lessee may want the ability to expand or the ability to exchange the leased property for a larger property. Issues that need to be discussed include whether any expansions need zoning approval, what easement rights exist, whether there are any restrictions on use, and what spaces beyond the interior such as the roof, utility access, parking, and storage are accessible.
  • Additional expenses. In addition to the base rent, the landlord and lessee need to address the responsibility for:
    • Taxes
    • Insurance
    • Common maintenance areas
    • Operating expenses
    • Utility expenses
    • Parking
    • Security

Our lawyers also address the concern of every business — gaining an advantage over the competition. We negotiate leases with that concern in mind. For example, leases may require that no direct competitors be allowed to rent in the same complex.

Additional leasing and renting concerns for business tenants and landlords

Our leasing attorneys also review with our clients:

  • The right to inspect the property before moving in
  • The right to terminate the lease if the landlord doesn’t perform repairs, there is a foreclosure or bankruptcy of the owner’s property, accidents happen, service is interrupted, or the tenant just wants to stop or move the business at the end of the lease period
  • The duty of the tenant to comply with state and federal law, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, fire and building codes, or environmental regulations
  • Indemnity and right of subrogation issues
  • What happens if the landlord changes the common area
  • How disputes will be resolved — in arbitration or in court
  • The remedies available to both lessor and lessee

Other issues our lawyers review with commercial landlords and business lessees include the right to cure defaults, liquidated damages on default, duties of the tenant on surrender of the property, and many other related issues.

Get professional leasing advise today

We understand how to negotiate and change standard lease agreements, even when it seems like the landlord has all the leverage. We work with landlords to help expedite the move-in and move-out process so they are continually maximizing rented space. We work to maximize the business benefits while minimizing the financial risks for all the clients we advise.Call us at (216) 573-6000 or complete our contact form to make an appointment with an experienced leasing attorney.