Feature

How to Limit Your Liability for Negligence and COVID-19 Infection

December 17, 2020    
Although premises liability and the risk of negligence litigation are perennial concerns for commercial property owners, COVID-19 infuses these issues with a new immediacy. The nightmare scenario: Tenants and/or their employees, customers, vendors, or other invitees who get COVID will claim they...
In the News

Enforcing Commercial Lease Guaranties in the Age of COVID-19

December 17, 2020    
As it has with most every other aspect of leasing, the COVID-19 crisis has played havoc with landlords’ efforts to collect unpaid rent from tenants’ guarantors. And now as a second and more deadly surge of cases threatens further government shutdowns, landlords need to be aware of the...
Brokers’ Buzz

Don't Let Lease Assignment Defeat Your Right to a Sublease Commission

December 17, 2020    
SITUATION A shopping center tenant hires a broker to find somebody to sublease 5,100 square feet of the space it’s leasing. The listing agreement names the broker as the tenant’s exclusive agent and provides for a 6 percent commission in the event: The space is “subleased...
Owner Loses

Court Upholds NYC COVID-19 Commercial Tenant Anti-Harassment Law

December 17, 2020    
What Happened: New York City has a law that bans commercial landlords from engaging in “harassment” to force tenants to vacate or waive lease rights via illegal threat of force or threats based on race, creed, color, age, etc. At the height of the first wave of the pandemic, the city...
Owner Loses

Landlord Trumps Up Minor Lease Infractions as Excuse to Get Rid of Tenant

December 17, 2020    
What Happened: A landlord who had just bought the property and was eager to lease it for a higher rent approached the current gas station tenant about a potential buyout. The negotiations proved unsuccessful. Less than three months later, the landlord tried to evict the tenant for unpaid rent and...
Owner Loses

Court: No ‘Prevailing Party’ Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees in COVID Rent Case

December 17, 2020    
What Happened: Who won the legal showdown between the Florida mall and the retail tenant that cited the force majeure clause of its lease as an excuse not to pay rent in May due to business losses resulting from government COVID-19 shutdown orders? At stake was more than pride. Under terms of the...
Feature

Protect Yourself When Letting Tenants Tap Security Deposit to Pay Rent

November 18, 2020    
The tenant security deposit is the piggy bank that you don’t want to break open while the lease remains in effect, unless it’s absolutely, positively necessary. And with COVID-19 cases resurging and the prospects of business shutdowns looming, we may be getting close to that absolutely...
Brokers’ Buzz

You Make the Call: Did the Broker Commit Fraud?

November 18, 2020    
In their eagerness to get the lease signed, brokers may be inclined to make statements about what the document says (or doesn’t say) to allay the concerns of one of the parties. So, what happens if the landlord or tenant takes the broker at its word and signs the lease, only to discover that...
Pop Quiz

Can Landlords Limit Liability for ADA Violations by Removing Structural Barriers?

November 18, 2020    
WHAT HAPPENED Workers hired by the landlord of a medical office building place a 55-gallon barrel that’s been cut in half to serve as a planter on the access ramp leading to the only public entrance of the building, leaving just 30 inches on either side for entrants to squeeze through. In...
Owner Wins

Bankruptcy Court Lifts Stay to Let Owner Evict Assignee in Chapter 11

November 18, 2020    
What Happened: An airport tenant assigned its lease to an assignee. In June 2020, the owner and tenant signed an agreement terminating the lease. In August, the assignee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The owner asked for permission to bring a lawsuit to evict the assignee since the underlying...