Commercial: Lease Negotiation and Litigation
Commercial leases are extremely complex instruments which, unfortunately, are routinely entered into by unwitting tenants without the benefit of legal representation or advice. The language used in commercial leases can be confusing just to read. Without a comprehensive understanding of why leases contain the language they do and what that language means, tenants rarely understand how these lease terms can be used against them.
Examples of commercial lease provisions that require careful attention and review before a lease is signed include:
- an option to renew the lease
- CAM charges and most importantly, how they are calculated
- estoppel certificates
- notice and service requirements
- statements of whether a covenant is dependent or independent
- rent and rent elevators
- ADR clauses, including arbitration and mediation
- events of default, including how many days of written notice is required for monetary and non-monetary defaults
- personal guarantees
- permitted uses
- insurance requirements
- remedies upon default
- rights of assignment and subletting
- signage rights
- warranty of suitability and duty to repair or maintain
In the event a dispute arises and litigation ensues, our firm has extensive experience representing commercial tenants in eviction lawsuits as well as actions for damages. In the case of a successful eviction, a commercial tenant is typically liable for all attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the landlord, as well as all unpaid rent for the duration of the lease term, subject to the landlord’s efforts to mitigate by re-leasing the premises. Especially where personal guarantees are involved, eviction can be extremely costly to the tenant. That is one reason it is critical to aggressively defend to the extent possible against the eviction lawsuit. Our firm boasts many successes in keeping a commercial lease from being forfeited.
Many times, it is the tenant, not the landlord, who seeks redress in court or arbitration. Whether it means filing an action for declaratory relief, seeking a decree as to the rights of the parties under the lease, or asserting claim for damages or breach of the lease by the landlord, GED is a dedicated advocate in righting the wrongs of the landlord and collecting prevailing party attorneys’ fees when authorized by the lease.