Tenant’s Rights Under a Commercial Lease

February 15, 2021 Don Catalano Don Catalano

Your rights are usually what is in your lease, and nothing else. While leases change based on both local law and the actual terms of the document, in this article, we are going to explore some of the common rights that tenants usually enjoy.

 

Negotiation

You are free to negotiate whatever terms for your commercial lease that you wish and to which you can get your landlord to agree. The first and arguably most important right you have comes into play before you sign your lease. In that light, you are also free to attempt to renegotiate your lease any time, even after it is signed, provided there is a compelling reason for the landlord to enter those negotiations with you.

 

Tenancy and Quiet Enjoyment

The rights of tenancy and quiet enjoyment under a commercial lease mean that you have the right to occupy the space during the term of the lease as long as you are current in your obligations. In addition to those tenancy rights, quiet enjoyment means that you also have the right to be left alone in it. While this does not preclude the landlord from making reasonable visits or intrusions as necessary for maintenance and inspections, it does mean that you can count on being able to use your space as you wish within the terms of your lease.

 

Options to Renew

Many leases give you options to renew your lease. What this means is that if you follow the requirements of the option, you can remain in your space for a new lease without the risk of being thrown out for another tenant or having your rent increased beyond the term of the option. Commercial lease renewal or extension options typically require you to give your landlord advance notice -- usually many months -- of your intent to use them. If you miss the deadline, you can lose your right.

 

Set Costs

Your lease explicitly states what you will pay for the space and how, if at all, the landlord can increase those charges during its term. Provided you follow the terms of your commercial lease, the landlord cannot increase the cost of your space above and beyond those pre-negotiated terms.

 

Sublet and Assignment

One area where you might find you have more rights under a commercial lease than under a residential lease is in the area of subletting and assignments. Most landlords realize that running a business can be challenging and that, sometimes, a space might not meet a given tenant's needs for its entire term. As such, they might give you the right to sublease your space to another tenant who pays you rent so that you can pay the landlord or to assign it, where that other tenant takes over yours.

 

In today’s real estate landscape, understanding your tenant’s rights can be very tedious and is not something a tenant should do alone. A tenant rep broker help clients understand the lease clauses, feel confident with their decisions and guide them through the lease process.

 

Here are a few other articles we think you'll enjoy:

Office Space & The New Normal

The New Normal - Office Design Post COVID-19

Ways to Restructure CRE Leases in the COVID-19 Era

 

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