Commercial Leases and Lease Disputes
Most businesses encounter leases at one point or another. Whether the business needs retail space, office space or medical space or owns, operates and leases premises to others, leases are a significant expense or asset to almost every bottom line.
Whether you are a landlord or tenant, the assistance of an experienced real estate attorney can help you protect your interests and ensure that you get the most out of the transaction.
Commercial leases involve many details and provisions besides the rental rate, including the apportionment of responsibilities for repairs, compliance of the premises with applicable law, taxes, insurance and maintenance. Lease provisions governing renewal rights, the right to sublease or assign the lease, and the parties’ remedies for breach of lease can make a big difference to a business.
Our attorneys can help you negotiate and draft your lease agreement to provide for the future and help to ensure that your interests are protected.
Commercial Lease Disputes in Texas
Disputes between commercial landlords and tenants can involve many different issues.
From the landlord’s perspective, disputes arise when a tenant wrongfully fails to honor the terms of its lease, including not completing the tenant’s build-out and fixturing, failing to open for business in a timely fashion, violating the tenant’s permitted use and possibly harming other tenants by doing so (triggering additional possible liability to the landlord), closing for business (“going dark”) without permission, abandoning the premises during the lease term, or failing to pay tenant’s monthly rent, percentage rent or share of common area maintenance, taxes and insurance.
From the tenant’s perspective, the landlord may have made representations about the quality of the office space that are untrue. The space may be smaller or the amenities less attractive than advertised. The air conditioning system or other utilities may not work as warranted. The landlord may exaggerate the commercial traffic in the area, quote a renewal rate that is not fair market value (FMV), or fail to pay the tenant’s full improvement allowance.
For both landlords and tenants, disputes over the use of the premises for objectionable purposes, the meaning of lease provisions, access to the premises, parking or common areas, or the size, placement and visibility of signage can greatly affect the profitability of a retail venture. When such issues arise, they must be dealt with swiftly and effectively.
Our attorneys have experience representing both commercial landlords and tenants. We have significant experience in negotiating and drafting commercial leases. A good lease should minimize the risk of conflicts or disagreements over the meaning of its terms. We have prepared commercial leases in many industries, including shopping center and restaurant leases, general retail leases, industrial and warehouse leases, general office leases, leases for medical, psychiatric and dental offices, and leases for medical office buildings (“MOBs”). We are able to negotiate improvements in a proposed lease or lease renewal and assist you in modifying leases already in effect.
If a dispute emerges, we can assist with negotiating a resolution. This may involve drafting new or amended documents.
If the dispute cannot be resolved through negotiation, our attorneys have experience in litigating commercial real estate disputes. If appropriate, we pursue injunctive relief to prevent further harm and ensure that lease terms and other legal obligations are met. In appropriate circumstances, our attorneys can seek to have a commercial leases voided or rescinded; this might be warranted, for example, if the lease resulted from fraud, fraudulent inducement or other misrepresentation. We can also seek to recover actual and punitive damages.