Commercial lease agreements may look similar to residential landlord-tenant agreements, but they also involve responsibilities and considerations specific to a business context. When lease disputes arise in the commercial arena, landlords and tenants need trained professionals who can help them resolve business-specific issues related to their situation.
The Moschetti Law Group specializes in helping commercial landlords and tenants navigate Lease Disputes including the following:
Maintenance and Repairs
Lease provisions may include various maintenance or cleaning services. Problems arise when there is disagreement over whose responsibility it is to manage and finance new repairs or maintenance issues or one party may feel that the repairs and maintenance have not been completed up to their standards.
Perhaps a landlord’s biggest nightmare is a tenant who fails to pay rent. In the case of delinquent payments, landlords may choose to take renegotiate or file an unlawful detainer claim. Whatever the landlord’s choice, it should be one made according to the agreements laid out in the lease as well as abiding by relevant local laws. A major variable to the decision is the likelihood of collecting.
A landlord we represented had a tenant who left in the middle of the night. Literally. After a month we finally tracked them down and made the landlords demand. They shrugged their shoulder and said they would just declare bankruptcy. It was a believable claim, the owner had no assets. But, there were 2 guarantors in the lease, not just him. Thorough research into that guarantor found a pension, a large income, and a very large home. We filed and served him. The matter was promptly settled after the guarantor spoke with his attorney about his chances.
Termination of Lease
Either party in a rental agreement may want to terminate the lease. A landlord may want to sell the property before the tenant’s lease is up, in which case the tenant is allowed to pursue damages. A tenant may want to terminate their lease early to move across the state for a new job or any number of reasons, and in this case the landlord may pursue legal action.
We represented a private equity company who had a tenant who desperately wanted to terminate his lease. He wouldn’t try to sublet or do anything more than say he had a deal with the previous owner. After moving out, we filed an unlawful detainer to sever his rights and, after significant litigation, resolved the matter in our clients favor.
In a commercial space, a lease often describes the use of the space. Further, it may include a provision for “exclusive use,” meaning that the landlord may not lease to other commercial tenants of the same business type. For example, a hairstylist in a strip mall doesn’t want another salon going in next door. If the landlord ignores this agreement, the tenant may pursue legal action.
Use provisions are hotly litigated, usually second only to terminations of lease. Moschetti Law Group litigated a matter for a very high net worth owner in the San Francisco Bay Area. He owned an apartment building in the middle of the Marina District (a very exclusive part of town). During a routine inspection he discovered in the penthouse flat a gorilla cage. Just like the kind in the movies. And that was exactly what it was doing there – the tenants were using the flat as a movie studio for, well, not the kind of movies that you’d want to admit seeing. We filed a claim for the violation of the approved use and ultimately received both an eviction and a monetary award.
The attorneys at the Moschetti Law Group have been representing high net-worth individuals, private equity firms, and family offices for over 16 years. We built our firm on a set of principles which puts our clients first by providing outstanding representation, aggressive negotiation, and world-class client service and communication.
See how the Moschetti Law Group can help by setting up a free, no-obligation strategy session right now.