Entering into a commercial lease in New York can be serious. Every transaction between a commercial landlord and tenant can bring up significant legal and practical issues. Commercial leases and subleases are significantly different than residential landlord and tenant leases. For example, commercial tenants do not have the same legal protections as residential tenants in New York.
Lease agreements do not need to include the same amount of protection for tenants as commercial leases. Nonetheless, courts will not enforce all provisions in a commercial lease agreement. Whatever your legal issues, you can rest assured that the lawyers at Thomas Weiss & Associates have the experience needed to represent your interests throughout the process. The following are five of the most common issues related to commercial leases.
Eviction and Nonpayment of Rent
The eviction of a commercial tenant in New York is much different from eviction of a residential tenant. In some ways, evicting a commercial tenant in New York is even more difficult than evicting a residential tenant. In order to evict a commercial tenant, the landlord must have a specific, legally recognized reason to do so. Valid reasons for evicting a commercial tenant include the following:
- Non-payment of rent
- Substantial violation of the terms of the commercial lease as provided in the lease agreement
- Holding over after the lease expired
- The tenant created a public nuisance
If you are a landlord who needs to evict a commercial tenant, it is important to gather evidence. Be sure to document any behavior of the tenant that violates the terms of the commercial lease or the laws of New York. You may need to present this evidence in court if a dispute arises regarding the eviction.
The landlord has a legal obligation to give the commercial tenant written notice of breach of the lease agreement. Most lease agreements are due to non-payment of rent on the part of the tenant. Commercial landlords can demand that the tenant pay rent within three days. If the breach is due to another issue, the landlord can demand that the tenant make the situation right within a reasonable amount of time.
Disputes Over the Commercial Lease
It is extremely important to take the time to negotiate a fair and thorough commercial lease agreement. Both commercial tenants and landlords should have a clear understanding of the lease terms. Hiring a skilled commercial lease lawyer to help you draft, negotiate, and review a finalized commercial lease agreement can save you time and money over the long term. Commercial landlord property owners must obey New York laws regarding commercial leases. Commercial lease disputes can arise over any of the following issues:
- The terms of the commercial lease agreement
- Which property is included in the lease agreement
- The length of the lease agreement
- The frequency of the payments
- Which party is responsible for repairing which type of damage that might arise
- Who is responsible for maintaining the common areas
- The duties of the landlord and the duties of the tenant
Most commercial leases have a provision that deals with the subject of who should pay for damage done to the leased premises during the period of the lease. Usually, these provisions require the commercial tenant to keep the property in the same condition as when the lease started. Commercial landlords are responsible for fixing normal wear and tear to the premises. In other words, the tenants must leave the leased premises in the same condition it was when they began to lease the property.
What happens when a tenant breaches a lease provision? The tenant typically has a duty to maintain the property and keep it in good repair. The tenant can breach this duty at any time during the lease. When a tenant breaches this duty, the landlord may have an action in court to enforce the terms of the agreement. Likewise, when the landlord breaches his or her duty to maintain the common areas, the tenant may have a valid cause of action in court.
Commercial Lease Modifications
If you have entered into a commercial lease agreement, you might be wondering if you can ever modify or change your lease agreement. Many different situations can arise in which you find yourself needing to change the circumstances of the lease. Perhaps something has changed in which your original lease has become undesirable or unworkable. The easiest way to make changes is when the landlord and tenant agree to make the changes.
Commercial leases can be amended. It is important to carefully read the original lease agreement and to negotiate the amendment as much as possible. Both parties must sign any amendment to the lease and the signatures need to be witnessed by a notary public. The most common ways to amend a lease involve the following:
- Extending the terms of the lease to allow a business to occupy the premises for another three-year period
- Expand or decrease the size of the leased premises to help meet the needs of the commercial tenants
- Make improvements or modifications to the space that the tenant is occupying
- Allow the tenant to occupy an adjacent space
- Change other provisions and terms of the lease agreement
Our New York Commercial Lease Lawyers can Help
At Thomas Weiss & Associates, our lawyers are experienced in a wide variety of legal actions and defenses involving commercial leases in New York. We have experience with notices of default, notices of termination, demand notices, and notices to cure. We are seasoned in all different aspects of commercial landlord-tenant issues.
We understand that our clients are busy and do not want or need to spend a significant amount of time involved in a dispute over a commercial lease. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant who needs legal representation regarding a commercial lease agreement, we can help. Time is of the essence. Contact our New York commercial lease lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.