Getting the right legal representation when you’re preparing to enter a commercial lease is important in many ways. Your knowledgeable South Florida landlord-tenant attorney can, of course, help you negotiate your lease. In addition, however, your attorney can help you obtain a clear understanding of what rights and responsibilities you do – and don’t – have under your lease, and provide effective advocacy to ensure that you are not held to a higher standard (or more obligations) than what the lease agreement actually prescribes.
A federal case that originated here in South Florida is a good example. The lessee was a major “big box” home improvement store. The lease agreement, signed in 2006, established an initial 20-year term. The lease gave the lessee the option to “construct and operate a retail building.” If the lessee didn’t exercise that option, then that failure to exercise the option gave the landlord the right to increase rent or terminate the lease.
Two years into the lease, the tenant had constructed and opened one of its stores on the property. Five years after that, misfortune struck. A suspected arson fire did significant damage to the building. The local government inspected and determined that the building needed to be repaired or demolished. The tenant opted to do the latter, and also decided not to rebuild.