LANDLORD TENANTNew Smyrna Beach commercial or Residential Lease Drafting

Lease Drafting & Review (Residential)

In residential tenancy matters, JAMES M. KOSMAS, P.A. can assist landlords and tenants. Unfortunately, many landlords use boilerplate forms for their leases, many of which do not comply with laws specific to Florida residential tenancies. We can properly draft a residential lease that's up to date and offers the landlord maximum protection from tenant disputes (including non-payment of rent). A small investment today with an attorney can save you thousands later should you ever end up in court with your tenant.

Lease Drafting & Review (Commercial)

Most small business owners lease space from a landlord. When the landlord presents the business tenant with the lease, few tenants know what to look out for, and end up getting stuck with terms they did not understand or even knew existed. Also, since many small businesses do not have established business credit, these leases contain personal guarantees that are extremely one-sided and give the guarantor little recourse in the event of a dispute. Even if your landlord is fair and ethical, business tenants still need an attorney to review initial drafts of their leases. In many cases, we can negotiate terms and conditions that are reasonable and balanced for all involved. If you are a landlord, are you still using "boilerplate" forms? They only address basic issues of tenancy, and do not cover many other contingent events that landlords need to address at the start of a lease. Every landlord should have an attorney review, and if needed, re draft their leases for each unique situation.

Tenant Disputes

During the tenancy, disputes may arise between the landlord and tenant on matters other than non-payment. The tenant may be using the premises for a purpose other than the lease. For example, a residential tenant may be running a business out of the home with lots of visitors who park their cars in front of the neighbors' driveway. A commercial tenant may have an authorization to use the premises for a consulting business, then later opens a retail store in the same location.

When a landlord advises the tenant of a breach of their lease, many tenants who have several months left on their lease simply ignore the demand and just pay their rent. It is only when the tenant gets a letter from the landlord's attorney that their tune changes. Even if the tenant is month-to-month, the landlord would usually prefer to correct the tenant's behavior and keep the tenant (a customer) than have to pay the expense of searching for a new one.

In commercial matters, we work with both landlords and small business tenants to ensure that our clients' position is clear to the other party. In the above example of a commercial tenant who opens up a retail store when that use is not authorized under the lease, the landlord can face huge liability for knowingly allowing the activity if the facilities are not code-compliant (or the property is not properly zoned). On the flip side, many landlords "pass through" expenses to the tenants without providing a reasonably detailed accounting. Or, the landlord inserts a "management fee" so as to drive up the expenses, but is really only paying himself (or herself). Commercial landlords and tenants alike need to know their legal rights and responsibilities to make intelligent business decisions.