Business Counseling


The law firm assists both landlords, in the preparation of leases, and tenants, in the review and negotiation of leases.

From the landlord's standpoint, there are several very good preprinted forms. The use of such forms, modified where appropriate, can save the landlord a considerable amount of money in the preparation of the lease. Yet, there are other situations where an attorney-drafted lease is appropriate. Depending on the needs of the landlords and the particulars of the project, the determination can be made at the outset as to which is the best to use. We also assist landlords in unlawful detainer matters.

From the tenant's standpoint, it is important to focus on certain key areas, including the following: What is the term of the lease and are there any options to extend? If there are any options, how is the rent calculated during the option term? In addition to rent, what other costs and expenses is the tenant responsible to pay, including taxes, insurance, common area maintenance charges and the like? What constitutes a common area maintenance charge and the calculation thereof can be an extremely important area. Where the project is a pre-existing project, determination of common area costs and expenses can be quite simple. However, where it is a new project, this can be more difficult. What are the maintenance and repair obligations of the tenant? I have seen situations where the tenant is responsible for maintaining its roof. On the surface, that may make sense. However, I have seen such a provision in a shopping center lease where all of the space is contiguous. In those situations, the cost of the roof repair should be a common area maintenance charge that is shared by all tenants rather than allocated to one particular tenant. Those are the types of items that we, as attorneys, look for in reviewing leases. (The question we always ask in reviewing a provision: Is it fair and reasonable and does it correctly allocate cost and responsibility?) While the landlord may not view this to be in the landlord's interest, in the long run, it is in the landlord's interest as well because a well-drafted lease, one that correctly allocates risk and responsibility, will cause the landlord fewer problems in the long run.

Should you require additional assistance in any of these areas, please contact Ross Schwartz.