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Contentious Issues in Commercial Property Disputes

Most people think of landlord-tenant disputes as simple and straightforward. While that may be true in the residential context – where most such disputes involve rental payments – the landlord-tenant dynamic can be quite complicated in the realm of commercial property. Commercial leases are much more complex than their residential counterparts and often grant tenants both freedoms and responsibilities that would be unthinkable in a residential contract.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that business owners carefully negotiate commercial leases to help ensure that the arrangement actually meets their needs. Rent terms in commercial leases usually involve more than simple flat fee per month arrangements and can be fertile ground for disputes. Additionally, several other issues frequently cause commercial real estate disputes, including potential litigation:

  • Modifications to the premises – Almost always, business owners must make certain changes to a leased property in order for them to meet their needs. Lessors may even agree to fund these types of improvements partially or fully. However, when there are ambiguities about the permitted types of improvements, who is to pay for them and what the lessee can take when it leaves, a legal dispute can result.
  • Scope of permitted uses – Lessors are often reluctant to allow uses that may interfere with other tenants or damage the premises. Lessees should have a clear idea of the business they intend to conduct and be forthcoming with potential landlords.
  • Rights regarding common facilities – Parking lots, atriums and common hallways are a part of most offices and other commercial properties. It is crucial to determine who is responsible for the maintenance of these areas as well as who assumes the risk of liability.

If a lessor’s restrictions or activities have begun to interfere with your business, or if a lessee’s demands have become unreasonable and no amicable resolution seems possible, an experienced Elk River commercial real estate litigation attorney can help you resolve your issues in court.