Feature

COVID’s Impact on Construction Duties Under the Lease: Lessons for the Future

March 23, 2021    
By Sujata Yalamanchili and Dylan Weber  
Pop Quiz

Can Tenant Waive Landlord’s Duty to Mitigate Damages?

March 23, 2021    
WHAT HAPPENED A restaurant tenant isn’t happy about what it deems to be the landlord’s inadequate efforts to market the mall and abandons the property. Instead of immediately seeking a replacement, the landlord lets the space remain vacant and sues the tenant for rent. We didn’t...
Brokers’ Buzz

Landlord Can't Use Minor Violation as Excuse to Not Pay Retainer Fees

March 23, 2021    
In addition to commissions on actual leases closed, many landlords agree to pay their real estate brokers a monthly retainer. This is an effective way to ensure the availability of brokers you know and trust. But retainer fee arrangements can also make it harder to break up when and if things go...
Owner Wins

Pandemic Isn't a 'Casualty' Event

March 23, 2021    
What Happened: Another retail tenant has failed in its bid to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not paying rent. The tenant in this case was a New York City outlet of national retail chain The Gap, which claimed, among other things, that the pandemic and its resulting shutdowns constituted a “...
Owner Wins

Lockout Notice Wasn’t Defamatory Attack on Tenant’s Reputation

March 23, 2021    
What Happened: Upon arriving at his office, a tenant who was behind in his rent discovered that the landlord had changed the locks and left a paper notice taped to the inside glass door facing out. Its basic message: We’ve changed your lock. But we’re not terminating your lease, and you...
Owner Wins

Out-of-Possession Landlord Not Liable for Slip-and-Fall Injuries

March 23, 2021    
What Happened: An employee coming to work in the morning suffered serious injuries after slipping on ice in the office parking lot. Whether due to workers’ comp or just professional self-preservation, the employee decided that suing the landlord made a lot more sense than suing her employer....
Feature

Do Government COVID Business Closure Orders Frustrate the Purpose of a Commercial Lease?

February 18, 2021    
In addition to their express terms, leases are governed by so-called common law rules that apply regardless of what the agreement actually says. One of these rules is a normally obscure and arcane doctrine known as “frustration of purpose,” which applies when performing lease duties is...
Drafting Tips

Limit Financial Risk When Granting Tenants an Operating Expense Cap

February 18, 2021    
Death and taxes aren’t the only certainties in life. So are rises in the costs of operating commercial property. That’s why landlords generally require tenants to pay their share of operating expenses. And while most tenants are willing to go along with this arrangement, some might...
Brokers’ Buzz

Make Clients Who Promise You a Commission Put It in Writing

February 18, 2021    
SITUATION Brokers line up a company that may be willing to make an offer on a commercial building owned by a previous client. You make this work and I’ll pay you a commission, the owner promises.
Owner Wins

Eviction Moratorium Doesn't Get Guarantor of Defaulting Tenant Off the Hook

February 18, 2021    
What Happened: Like so many tenants affected by COVID-19, Saks Fifth Avenue stopped paying rent at its flagship New York City store. The landlord sued Saks’ parent company, the lease guarantor, for $2.7 million in unpaid rent. If these were normal times, we’d be liable for the tenant...