Q & A

Determining Correct Lease Term Length

October 30, 2011    

Q The owner of the office space I rent signed a lease with the original tenant of the space more than 20 years ago. The lease was to expire in 2011, but included an option for the tenant to renew for a five-year period. During the original term, the...

Is Oral Promise for Long-Term Extension Binding on Owner?

September 6, 2011    

Q I signed a short-term lease with a “merger” clause for retail space in a strip mall. My business was profitable in that location, and about halfway through the short-term lease, the strip mall's owner and I discussed the possibility...

Can I Require Owner to Send Copies of Notices to Several Locations?

June 30, 2011    

Q I operate my retail business out of several locations. I rent space for several of the stores from the same owner, but my company's official headquarters are in another state, and I do most of my paperwork from my home office. Recently, I've...

Are Emails Binding in Real Estate Negotiations?

May 31, 2011    

Q Before I signed the lease for the office I rent, the owner sent me several emails stating the space's square footage. The square footage that the owner quoted should be big enough for my business's needs, but I'm having trouble fitting...

Determining Compliance with Cotenancy Requirements Not Defined in Lease

April 25, 2011    

Q I negotiated a cotenancy clause in my long-term shopping center lease that requires the owner to rent to a “national” tenant. At the time the lease was signed, the owner promised that a specific national tenant would be moving into the...

Are Lease Renewal Options Exempt from Rule Against Perpetuities?

March 19, 2011    

Q I'm thinking of renting space for my retail store on the first floor of a mixed-use building. The owner has offered a 15-year lease with 10 options to renew for consecutive 10-year periods. Because they continue the lease for more than 100 years...

Relying on Owner's Oral Consent to Sublet

November 17, 2010    

Q I rent space for my medical clinic in a strip mall. To accommodate new services that I recently began offering, I need access to an on-site blood lab. Near the end of my last lease term, I told the owner that I would renew the lease only if I could...

Indemnifying Tenant Against Owner's Negligence

July 25, 2010    

Q A customer in my clothing store slipped on a puddle that collected on the floor because of a leak in the roof. Under the lease, the shopping center's owner is responsible for fixing leaks. The customer sued the owner, which wants me to indemnify...

Negotiate Provisions that Thwart Owner's Free-Rent Conditions

July 25, 2010    

Commercial property owners struggling to fill vacancies have been offering tenants free-rent concessions more readily than in the past in return for signing leases. However, owners know that giving you a period of free rent can hurt their cash flow or leave them exposed if you walk out on your...

Negotiate Owner's Waiver of Rights to Personal Property

June 20, 2010    

Q I'm negotiating a lease for restaurant space in a strip mall. I'm concerned that if my business begins to struggle and I default on my lease, the owner will be able to get a lien on the expensive and specialized cooking equipment and...

Which Buildings Are Included in Exclusive Use Provision?

January 28, 2010    

Q When an owner leases space in a strip mall or single-building shopping center to a competitor of an existing tenant with an exclusive use provision, the owner clearly violates the tenant's right. But I rent space in a retail property that's...

Safety Obligations of Owners to Tenants in Dangerous Area

June 18, 2009    

Q Is a commercial owner leasing space that is situated in a dangerous neighborhood—or that has had safety issues in the past—obligated to provide safety measures or security services for its tenants?