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How to avoid a commercial lease dispute

Dealing with a lease dispute can take time and energy away from running your business while you sort out the conflict. The main reason for disputes is a misunderstanding of your lease's terms in the first place. While it is true that your landlord may try to take money from you via the lease's terms, it is also your responsibility to fully understand the terms before signing. Here are some key points of a lease agreement to check:

Business name and products

First and foremost, make sure the full legal name of your business is on the lease. If it is written incorrectly or uses your personal name instead of the business name, you could run into problems in the future. You do not want to unknowingly give yourself personal liability in the company.

A lease may also contain terms about what type of business you can conduct in the leased space and other terms about building use. Make sure these terms do not limit the scope of what you want to do.

Area and damage charges

Common area expenses are a tricky part of a lease agreement. You may be required to pay for maintenance of common areas but you need to make sure this is defined in a fair way. Will you be charged for repairs? Can you be charged for damages that were not your fault? Always understand the terms and draw up a financial plan and budget before agreeing.

Make sure you are not held accountable for costs you cannot control. You should never have to pay expenses for a landlord's mistake, such as the landlord missing a tax payment. It is also fair to be reimbursed for legal costs if a lease dispute arises. Look for these types of details in the agreement.

Penalties for missed payments

Even as a responsible businessperson, you must take the possibility of missed payments into consideration. If this circumstance were to arise, you should know what action your landlord can legally take. Some landlords include a right to lock you out of your leased space if you have not paid rent. You should not give a landlord the legal right to do this.

If a dispute arises, do not just seek a real estate attorney. Consult with an attorney skilled in commercial lease disputes who has dealt with these conflicts before. They can protect your interests and thoroughly review your lease agreement to find the best solution for your situation.

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