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SHOULD I HAVE A LAWYER REVIEW MY COMMERCIAL LEASE AGREEMENT?

Posted by Katherine L. Taylor, Attorney | Aug 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

            You're an owner leasing commercial rental property or a tenant wishing to lease. You've agreed on the important lease terms such as square footage, rent, and term. So why should you spend the time and money to involve a lawyer you ask? On both sides, it's advisable.

            Leases are contracts and commercial leases are usually contracts involving a lot of money over a long term. Therefore, you want to be sure that the written lease agreement actually reflects what you agreed upon. The precise wording in these contracts is critical and has legal ramifications. Lay people may not be aware what the terms mean legally. It's important before you sign any lease agreement to understand what you are signing, what rights you are getting and what rights you are giving up. 

            You also need to know what liability you may face. In addition, you need to protect yourself in case problems arise. Many questions can arise after a lease agreement is signed. These are as varied as the individual deal itself. For example, if something major like the heat or air conditioning breaks, is the landlord or the tenant responsible for the cost of repair? Another example could be who is responsible to clean snow from the sidewalks, landlord or tenant? Other issues may include use of the property, term, rent (there are different types of commercial rentals, and ways to calculate the rent), subletting, renewal, default, warranties, insolvency, signage, parking, covenants, restrictions, maintenance and repairs, build outs and property changes, lease modifications, zoning, insurance and utilities, taxes and assessments, rights with respect to other tenants, and  other issues particular to your lease. You can see that the list of issues is long.

            When you've gone through all of the stress of getting to the point where you sign the lease, you may be just ready to sign the lease. But don't, without carefully reviewing the lease and your understanding of it with a business attorney. This extra step can make for a sound deal that meets your needs. A knowledgeable attorney can advise you before you sign if the lease has potential problems. If so, addressing them in advance is often much easier and cost effective.

About the Author

Katherine L. Taylor, Attorney

Katherine founded Taylor Legal after serving for 10 years as Senior Assistant County Solicitor for Howard County Government, and 7 years as a commercial litigator at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, a premier law firm in Baltimore, Maryland.

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