Dos & Don'ts

Don't Make Defaulting Tenant Guess on Months of Nonpayment

January 3, 2022    

Don’t send tenants a default notice for nonpayment of rent that doesn’t specifically identify the months. Failing to list the months of nonpayment in the notice may cost you your right to evict the tenant or terminate the lease.

Call All Tenant Payments ‘Rent’ or ‘Additional Rent’

November 23, 2021    

Landlords should make it a point of emphasis to ensure that the lease describes all tenant payments and charges as either “rent” or “additional rent.” While it might seem like a legal technicality, using these terms ensures you access to fast-track eviction if the tenant...

Specify in Lease that 'Attorney' Can Send Notices

August 3, 2021    

It's important to make your notice to a tenant valid if your attorney sends it. If a tenant violates your lease, you're probably required to notify the tenant in writing that if it doesn't cure—that is, correct—the violation by a set deadline, you can take action against...

14 Things You Must Do Right Now to Manage COVID-19 Infection Liability Risks

April 20, 2020    

One of the great unknowns of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic for landlords is the potential liability for infection, including class actions by clusters of...

Don't Charge Tenants for Electricity 'Consumed'

May 20, 2019    

If your lease requires tenants to pay you their share of the property/facility’s electric bill, don’t say they have to pay for the electricity they “consume.” That’s because the bills you receive from the electric company may include elements not related to...

Specify Tenant’s Alleged Lease Violations in Eviction Notice

May 20, 2019    

Make sure your eviction notices (a.k.a. notices to quit) specify exactly which duty and section of the lease the tenant violated. Otherwise the notice may be too vague and you won’t be able to get a court to evict the tenant no matter what it allegedly did wrong.

Don't Forget Beneficial Transportation in Operating Expenses

February 12, 2019    

If you’re the owner of a large retail property or several properties, you might decide to capitalize on the convenience factor and provide transportation for shoppers. While maximizing sales benefits you in the form of higher percentage rent and maintaining cotenancy obligations by...

Don't Accept Ambiguous Definition of 'Merchandise' in Use Clause

February 12, 2019    

An increasing number of retailers sell both new and “vintage” or consigned merchandise. But if you want a retail tenant’s space to be used solely or primarily for sales of new merchandise, then you’ll need to say this in the lease’s use clause. And be aware that...

Require Tenant to Offer Same Deal as Third Party for ROFR

February 12, 2019    

Some owners offer a tenant the right of first refusal (ROFR) to buy a building, should they decide to sell the property. If you decide to do this, make sure that you don’t get burned by the current tenant’s lower offer than a third party. When negotiating a lease with a tenant you...

Negotiate Hazardous Materials Cleanup with Medical Tenant

February 12, 2019    

Medical office tenants may pose environmental and safety risks if they generate hazardous materials and medical waste. Contamination of space can be a nightmare for you, but you can ameliorate this by requiring the tenant to return the space in the same condition that it was in when the tenant...

Check Conflicts of Interest Before Offering Deal Details

August 30, 2018    

Before retaining a real estate attorney for a new deal, don’t spend time and money disclosing the deal’s details to her before you are sure that no conflict of interest exists that could prevent her from fairly representing your interests. This applies whether the attorney is new to...

Don't Include Stairs in Tenant's Square Footage

August 30, 2018    

If your commercial property has more than one level, it will have at least one set of stairs. You may be wondering if you could include the stairs leading to, say, the dance studio in the square footage, and whether it’s customary, or even legal, to include stairs leading to a second-story...