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Commercial Lease Disputes

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What Are Some Common Commercial Lease Disputes?

Commercial leases are a foundational aspect of any business operation. Many companies profit by renting their business space rather than purchasing their own space. In such instances, the company will set up a lease agreement with the property owner for the use of the business space. These commercial leases are important, but they can also be a source of legal dispute or disagreement between the parties.

For example, some common commercial lease disputes may involve issues such as:

  • Terms of Lease- the lease terms are usually specific to the needs of the business, and can create disputes over:
    • Who can use property
    • Time period for the lease’s validity
    • Monthly payments
  • Duty to repair- often times there is dispute as to whether it is the company or the property owner that has a duty to make repairs
  • Early Termination- The lease agreement will usually state when the contract will terminate, but the parties should be prepared for circumstances that might cause an early termination of the lease
  • Deposits- disputes often arise over deposit payments, especially if the lease is terminated before the written termination date
  • Subleasing- in some cases, the renting party may be able to sublease or assign their lease to another party, though this will vary according to each individual agreement

There may be many other issues involved in commercial lease disputes. They may also involve other aspects of law, such as taxes or zoning issues.

How Are Commercial Lease Disputes Resolved?

Resolving a commercial lease dispute involves an interaction between business, contract, and real estate laws.  In most cases, the written lease agreement will serve as the legal document which the courts will refer to in order to clarify any disagreements. 

Also, resolving commercial lease disputes depends on the specific issue that is in question. For example, the duty to make repair may require the property owner to repair any broken down or unsafe structures. Or, the duty to deal reasonably with a deposit may entail returning some or all of the renter’s deposit.

In some cases, the dispute can involve a number of different issues that all need to be resolved at once. These types of cases can often be somewhat complicated and may require the assistance of an attorney. State laws regarding commercial leases will often vary, and the rules can also vary according to the type of business involved.

What Are Some Remedies for Commercial Lease Disputes?

Again, this will depend on the type of legal issue that is at the center of the dispute. For instance, if the dispute is about rent, then the remedy might focus on paying the property owner if they are owed rent. 

In some cases, the legal remedy may require the parties to adhere to an injunction, for example if the building is being used in violation of city health and safety codes. The injunction will state certain actions that the liable party should or shouldn’t take.

In most commercial lease lawsuits, the remedy will be a monetary damages award that is calculated according to the economic losses suffered by the non-breaching party. 

Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer?  

Commercial lease disputes can often involve many different laws, including business, contract, and real estate regulations. If you need assistance with a commercial lease claim, you may require the assistance of a real estate lawyer. A qualified lawyer in your area can provide you with sound legal advice and can represent you in court if necessary. Also, your attorney can keep you updated regarding any changes to the law that might affect your commercial lease agreement. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 08-05-2014 03:44 PM PDT

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