It doesn’t matter how careful you are when setting up a lease, property disputes between commercial tenants and landlords are often unavoidable. Changes in circumstances and the passage of time can often lead to disagreements which can be time consuming and difficult to resolve. Ultimately, the best thing to do if you get caught in a commercial property lease dispute is to engage the services of a decent property lawyer.
What to do first:
If you have recently found yourself in the middle of a commercial lease dispute with your landlord, you need to go back and look closely at your tenancy agreement. A good tenancy agreement will outline all of the conditions of your lease, and can often be used to resolve disputes quickly and calmly. If you feel that you are covered by your lease, but your landlord feels differently, then you need to use a property lawyer to sort the problem out.
Have you done something wrong?
If you know that you have done something wrong which has led to the commercial dispute, then you need to take steps to mediate the problem. Make agreements with the landlord’s demands (where reasonable) and do what you can to defuse the situation. If you are in the wrong and the case goes to court, you might find yourself with much harsher penalties.
For example, if you have fallen behind on your rent, sit down with your landlord and talk to them about it. It is amazing how many problems a simple conversation can fix, and how many people fail to do it. Arrange a plan for you to pay back the money you owe, and see if you can reach an agreement with your landlord. If they wish to make the agreement legally binding, use a high-quality property lawyer.
What are your rights as the tenant?
Tenants have a lot of rights when it comes to commercial property leases – after all, you need to be able to run your business the way you want to. Some of your basic rights include:
- Your landlord must maintain and repair the property when reasonable in accordance with your lease agreement.
- Your landlord can’t terminate your lease against the terms set out in your lease agreement without reasonable cause.
- You landlord can’t block access to the premises, cut off the services to the premises, or act in a manner which negatively impacts your business.
Basically, as long as you follow the terms set out in your commercial lease agreement, you can do what you want with the leased property. If a dispute arises between you and your landlord, you need to consider your options carefully and resolve it quickly where possible. If you feel that you are in the right, but you still can’t reach a resolution, speak to a qualified property lawyer.