4 Common Causes for Commercial Lease Disputes
It’s common for business owners to sign at least one commercial lease eventually. You can’t have a business without a location to operate, and leasing a location is much cheaper than buying one. When you lease, though, you put yourself at the mercy of the landlord and their rules. If you’re the landlord, leasing out locations is your business, and if you’re not careful, your tenants can damage the property and your income. In your attempts to keep your business running, you may find yourself embroiled in a commercial lease dispute.
This means that a tenant and their landlord are at an impasse that requires a legal proceeding to solve. This can be through arbitration, mediation, or a lawsuit. To avoid a dispute, it’s best to have strong commercial lease agreements written by experienced real estate attorneys. If it can’t be avoided, you need representation that can lead you through arbitration, mediation, or a lawsuit. The real estate attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam can help.
What Can Lead to a Commercial Lease Dispute?
Several things can lead to a tenant or tenants coming to legal blows with a landlord. These can be due to the actions of the tenant, the landlord, another tenant, or lack of action in response to extenuating circumstances. But some are more common than others that our attorneys are experienced with dealing with. These issues are ones our attorneys can help prevent by reviewing your contracts before they’re signed.
#1. Withholding Rent
At the end of the day, leases are all about money. Whether you’re the tenant or the landlord, you both want to have as much money as possible. If you’re a tenant and your landlord isn’t completing their responsibilities, you don’t want to shell out more money to them with rent. If you’re a landlord and your tenant isn’t paying you rent, why would you maintain the property they’re not respecting?
Withholding rent is common, and tenants can legally withhold rent if landlords are not complying with the lease agreement. This can spiral into a legal issue where they argue over what the lease agreement says about a landlord’s responsibility, and if the tenant can withhold rent. Typically, the strongest piece of evidence is the lease agreement.
#2. Property Maintenance
Depending on the lease agreement, a landlord or a tenant may be responsible for maintaining the property. Sometimes the lease can break it down into specifics, wherein certain circumstances or with certain parts of the property, one of them is responsible for repairs. This makes it easier for legal representation to discern responsibility for property maintenance.
Sometimes, even if the lease agreement is specific, landlords and tenants don’t understand the legal language. This can lead to disputes even if the agreement is specific. In these cases, mediation can be the best method for finding a solution to the commercial lease dispute.
#3. Conflict With Fellow Tenants
It’s common for a landlord to own buildings or plots of land that hold several businesses. In most cases, the landlord is responsible for making sure no new or concurrent tenants have a business that causes friction with another tenant. When this happens, the tenants can have a commercial legal dispute with each other, which will include the landlord, or with the landlord themself.
#4. Missing Terms in Your Lease Agreement
There have been many cases where the commercial lease agreement did not properly answer or prepare answers to common situations. When there isn’t any clear consensus on what to do, this can devolve into angry and petty disagreements between the tenant and landlord.
It’s important to have a thorough and complete contract that is specific and expansive. If a topic is vaguely mentioned in the lease contract, it might as well not be said. This leaves the commercial lease agreement open to scrutiny by attorneys on both sides and rarely ends well for anyone.
Get Help With Your Commercial Lease Disputes
Sometimes it’s a simple case of needing a legal mind to understand the fine print. Other times, it can be a legal battle to prove who owes compensation to whom. In any case, whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, the real estate attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam can help you protect your business.
We can help by helping you create lease agreements if you’re a landlord, reviewing your offered lease agreement if you’re a tenant, or representing you through arbitration, mediation, or a lawsuit whether you’re one or the other. We have the experience to handle your case. Contact us today for support.