When is a Commercial Lease Binding?

Commercial and residential leases have major differences, one of which is Florida's consumer protection laws. Privacy laws, security deposits and the same uniformity of other tenants' leases are also not necessarily connected to a commercial lease. There are many reasons why comprehensive review by a Fort Lauderdale lease dispute attorney would be ideal before signing either type of agreement. On top of the exorbitant amount of trouble that it would take to debate the terms after the lease is signed, the legally binding agreement could come with a hefty price tag to modify or terminate.

In addition to the state Supreme Court restricting legal document drafts from people who don't have a professional legal background, the majority of printed leases are drafted by lawyers and are designed to protect the client's rights. If the contract is drawn up by the lessor, it will be to the lessor's advantage. The same can be said for the lessee.

'Exchange of consideration'

In order for a commercial lease to be binding, the Florida Bar states that there must be an "exchange of consideration," which is when both parties agree to do business with the understanding that there will be goods, services or money exchanged. Minors and those involved in illegal or "impossible" acts cannot be legally bound by a contract. If a minor wants to be connected to a commercial lease, someone of legal age (18 or older) must sign on their behalf and represent them.

Exceptions to the rule

While most signed leases provide three days for a "cooling-off period" before the terms become legally binding, there are exceptions:

  • Business days: For leases with the legal right of rescission, the three-day wait includes all business days and Saturdays only. For example, if a contract is signed on the Friday before Labor Day, the third day would be the end of the day on Tuesday.
  • Mortgages: Mortgage loans secured by liens on commercial real estate may have a three-day waiting period. For homeowners who are renting out their property, acting as landlords, or have sections of the home being used as a self-employed facility, the waiting period may vary. Speak with a lease dispute attorney in Hollywood about how the home is used to narrow down whether the lease would be considered commercial or a personal home loan. The agreement's timeline may be affected by this, especially considering new homeowners do not have a right to cancel a loan once the legal documents are signed. The way the home is used will also affect how taxes are filed, so the wording in the commercial (or residential) lease will matter come April, too.
  • Oral agreements: While this type of agreement is much more difficult to prove in a court of law and usually involves a lot of "he said, she said," it can be a binding, legally enforceable contract if one party takes on duties or liabilities with the understanding of being given a good or service in exchange for the first party's duties.

Those who wish to execute a lease with minimum headaches should contact an a Hollywood or Fort Lauderdale law firm that specializes in lease agreements. Spending a little up front could prevent a small fortune in legal fees later.

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