Common Commercial Lease Disputes

December 27th, 2018 | Posted in Uncategorized

Commercial leases look nothing like the lease people signed in college to rent an apartment
across from campus. Instead, these leases are highly technical and often far too long. Even savvy
business owners can feel overwhelmed and might just sign on the dotted line, hoping for the best.
Unfortunately, disputes constantly crop up between commercial tenants and their landlords. In
this post, we summarize some of the more common ones.

Rent Issues
Commercial lease arrangements usually last several years, and the lease should be crystal clear
about whether rent will increase and by how much. Sometimes, leases are silent about rent
increases, which landlords try to ram through.
A proper commercial lease should also discuss late and partial payments and whether you will be
penalized.

Lease Renewal or Refusal
Your landlord might refuse to renew your lease for vague or unsatisfactory reasons. Often, they
want a tenant who is willing to pay more in rent, or they want to take the development in a new direction. You need an experienced legal advocate to pin down the reasons you are being refused
a new lease and to discuss your options.

Lease Termination

You might choose to terminate the lease early because your business has folded or because you
find a better location. Lease disputes can crop up, especially involving security deposits and the
amount of notice you need to give.

Maintenance Issues
Some landlords are not interested in maintaining their properties, which can only work to the
detriment of their tenants. At Hodges Coxe Potter & Phillips, we understand how frustrating it
can be when a commercial landlord does not maintain a property.

Your lease should outline your options in the event the landlord is in breach of the agreement.
For example, you might be able to repair the property yourself and deduct the cost from the rent,
or you might have the option to terminate the lease.
Often, tenants are unsure of what to do or are unhappy with their options. You should realize that
you might have rights not expressed in the contract. Meet with a lawyer before taking any steps.

Renting to Competing Businesses
Hopefully, your commercial lease contained a restriction limiting the landlord’s ability to rent to
a competing business. Imagine that you opened a hair salon only to have your landlord lease to
another salon right beside you.
Some landlords ignore the language in their leases and rent anyway, especially if the landlord is
facing financial difficulty. As a result, a commercial tenant can lose substantial sums of money.
If your landlord breaches your contract, you have legal options.

Experienced Legal Guidance
Lease disputes are a fact of life for many businesses. Ideally, you will always employ an attorney
to review a lease agreement before signing it, which will protect your rights. But when a dispute
breaks out, you need help right away.

Instead of handling a lease dispute on your own, contact Hodges Coxe Potter & Phillips. One of
our real estate litigation lawyers can meet with you to go over the circumstances of your dispute.
We can also discuss your likelihood of success.
Call today—910-772-1678.