Protecting Your Business During a Leasing Dispute
If you’re currently experiencing a leasing dispute with your business, you know it can affect your success. From time taken out of your day and away from your operations to risks to your customer service, leasing disputes are no joke.
The first step in settling your business leasing dispute is to better understand the terms of your lease contract.
Maintenance and repair disputes
That leaky roof, flooding or bug infestation might be your responsibility to resolve. Depending on the terms of your lease, you might have agreed to maintain the building for the duration of your lease. Other leasing agreements state exactly what a landlord must maintain and what you as the tenant must do as far as upkeep.
Read your leasing agreement carefully to see if plumbing, electrical, inside and outside maintenance, floors, walls, HVAC, etc. are clearly outlined as to who is responsible. If nothing is set forth in your contract, you and your landlord are in a grey area and will have to come to an agreement about how to handle maintenance.
This is where having an attorney who knows leasing contracts review your agreement before you ever sign it is a good idea. If you didn’t do that originally and you’re now struggling with these grey areas, it’s not too late to have an attorney review it. You might be able to have it revised even if you’re still under the signed terms for the next several months or even years.
Changes and improvements
As your business changes and grows, you might want your storefront or office to change and grow with you. This can be challenging when there is a clause in your lease agreement that states that you can’t alter the property.
Another area of interest in lease agreements when it comes to changes and improvements is who pays for the work. Lease agreements might make it clear how much money can be spent each year and a process for the landlord and tenant agreeing on projects.
Once again, this portion of lease agreements isn’t always crystal clear and can make it difficult for businesses to know where they stand. A business law attorney can help you understand the terms and agreements set forth in your lease.
Leases for storefronts and offices are often part of a larger development. Because of this, your landlord has an interest in creating continuity and order across all buildings and property owned.
To build this continuity, your lease likely states what sort of signage you can display and where it must be located. Depending on your type of business and how your organization begins to scale, this can present issues for how you present yourself.
You should know and understand the limitations of your organization’s signage before signing a lease. However, if you’re stuck in a lease with signage rules you can’t adhere to, discuss the matter with a business law attorney. There may be ways you can compromise with your landlord and still meet your business objectives.
Contingencies and subleases
Some businesses sadly don’t make it. If you’re currently facing that situation, you can find another business to sublease the space if you’re still under contract. Just be careful because some leasing agreements prohibit subleasing while others allow for it.
If subleasing is permitted, you should choose your sublessee carefully. That’s because if they fail to pay your landlord, you’ll be on the hook for making those payments. Be certain that your sublessee is well established and going to make it for the duration of your remaining lease.
If you would like to get out of your lease because your business is struggling or the location isn’t working well, you might need the assistance of a business attorney. Exiting contracts early is rarely simple, and a lease agreement is a contract where you agreed to pay rent for a set time period.
Hiring an attorney to defend your leasing dispute
Your best chance of success in winning a leasing dispute with as little disruption to your business as possible is to hire an experienced attorney.
Gore and Kupmerman have been serving Virginia businesses as legal representation for leasing disputes for more than 35 years. We’re here when you need us and can negotiate with opposing counsel so you can focus on your business and serving your customers.
When leasing contracts seem too confusing or you don’t know how to defend yourself, turn to the experts at Gore and Kuperman. Call us at 703-385-7300 to earn your freedom from landlord disputes.
This blog post is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be used as such. Specific case facts should be discussed with an attorney.