Commercial leases share numerous similarities with legally binding residential agreements, with the parties being the lessor and the lessee. However, substantial differences in the laws exist, and attorney David S. Tupler, P.A. stands ready to protect your interests, whether you're the landlord or tenant.
With more than 20 years of experience as a Fort Lauderdale lease dispute lawyer, you can count on David to help prevent legal issues from occurring, or help resolve those involving landlords and tenants after a lawsuit is filed in Broward County court.
THE LIFEBLOOD OF AN AGREEMENT
A lease could involve office space, shopping centers, stand-alone facilities, warehouses, manufacturing operations, undeveloped land, business parks and cell towers. The lessor could be a private proprietor, a publicly traded for-profit corporation or a property management firm. The tenant could be a small business owner, a multinational company or a nonprofit service agency. All landlord-tenant issues have one thing in common: One party is permitted use of space owned by another party in exchange for compensation.
Though a lessor-lessee relationship obviously relates to property, whether in the form of vacant land or, space in a building or the building itself, the core of landlord/tenant law revolves around contracts. Written or verbal, a signed lease creates a contractual arrangement under which both sides have specific rights and responsibilities. As with all types of contracts, details are extremely important.
DRAFTING THE BEST AGREEMENT
Attorney David S. Tupler, P.A. knows how to avoid common pitfalls when drafting a lease. He'll ensure that you're protected against possible loopholes and will include language specific to your industry and individual business' needs. This will put you in a strong position should the other party attempt to renege on the agreement.
Though commercial leases share common elements – like a description of the property to be rented, the amount of rent to be paid and the names of the parties to the agreement – each business and each business' arrangement is unique. A commercial lease should reflect the particular needs of all parties involved, and all parties should expect at least a minor degree of negotiation.
WHY DETAILS ARE CRITICAL
If a lease does not specifically address the topic in question, it's subject to a judge's interpretation, and this situation often happens to lessors who write their own agreements in lieu of retaining experienced Fort Lauderdale landlord & tenant lawyers.
Examples provisions that could be written into leases (if applicable) include:
- continuous operation
- obligation to make repairs
- service of notices
- anchor tenants are often required to maintain continuous operation of their business, and "going dark" is considered a breach of the lease.
If the landlord is responsible for making repairs to the property, the written agreement should specify the process a tenant should follow to request needed repairs.
DOCUMENT REVIEW AND OPINION LETTERS
If you've already entered into an agreement and there's a dispute about the application of one or more of its clauses – or a question about how to interpret its terms in accordance with Florida state law – let a Broward County lease lawyer review it and see where you stand.
Some common areas of disagreement in commercial leases include:
- duty to make repairs or improvements
- required insurance coverage amounts and policies
- responsibility for maintaining exteriors and landscaping
- calculation of common area maintenance charges
- options to extend the lease
- possible breaches of lease conditions
TYPES OF CLAIMS WE HANDLE
Frequent types of claims filed by the lessor against commercial tenants include:
- claims for unpaid rent
- allegations of non-monetary defaults
- return of rent deposits
- breach of covenant of continuous operations
- breach of guaranty
- recovery for property damages
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LITIGATING A CLAIM
Commercial landlord-tenant litigation is split in two categories:
- claims based on monetary grounds: Monetary claims usually are more straightforward and involve failure to pay rent; damages to property caused by tenants or their customers, workers or guests; or failure by the lessee to pay a portion of common utilities or property taxes.
- claims based on non-monetary grounds: Non-monetary claims can be more difficult to prove in Florida courts, and usually require the services of a skilled lawyer. Perhaps the landlord has violated the covenant of quiet enjoyment by extensive construction on the premises, disrupting the tenant's daily business for months. Perhaps the lessee allowed the required insurance coverage to lapse. Both are examples of non-monetary claims.
When attempts to resolve disagreements amicably are unsuccessful – or a debt claim must be filed because one of the parties declares bankruptcy in court – Ft. Lauderdale lease attorney David S. Tupler can assess your case, draft and file the necessary documents and represent your interests in the courtroom. Types of claims include:
- distress for rent complaint against the tenant and landlord's lien for rent
- debt claims when a lessee owes unpaid rent or other damages but the business either no longer operates or has filed for bankruptcy
- injunctions against enforcement of non-competition lease provisions
- terminations of a lease due to default or breach
Even when a well-written agreement details the rights and responsibilities of all parties, landlords and tenants still could face disputes. In some cases, issues could be resolved through mediation or correction of a lease violation. In other cases, Broward County courts will make the decision. In all cases, the interests of lessees and tenants are be much better served with a landlord & tenant attorney by your side. Call to schedule a FREE consultation with David S. Tupler, P.A.