Landlord/Tenant Laws for Commercial Space

Commercial landlord-tenant law significantly overlaps with the landlord-tenant law for residential properties. Although commercial spaces are not subject to the warranty of habitability, commercial tenants still have important rights and responsibilities.

Commercial Tenant Rights

Another important aspect of tenant landlord law of the requirement of notice for lease termination. Typically, a lease for a specific term indicates when a tenancy will end. If there is no established termination date, however, or if some event terminates the lease, then a landlord must give reasonable notice to the tenant. For instance, many states require a six month notice to terminate a year-to year lease. Moreover, in some jurisdictions, if conditions in a particular commercial space are intolerable enough that a tenant must seek a new location, or if a commercial landlord denies an important service or accommodation, then a commercial tenant can often break their lease.

Commercial Tenant Responsibilities

Commercial tenants also have certain responsibilities that relate to the maintenance of the property, the payment of financial compensation and subletting.

In maintaining the property, a tenant cannot commit waste by engaging in behavior that damages (either intentionally or by neglect) or otherwise alters the property. (Even if an alteration improves the value of the property). A commercial tenant’s responsibility toward maintaining the property is often outlined in the lease, such as the maintenance of common areas as well as notifying the landlord as to the need to conduct repairs.

A commercial tenant is also required to pay rent and any other designated expenses in accordance with a lease. The failure to do so may result in eviction, unless there is a lawful justification.

Subletting occurs when a tenant transfers their right of possession to another party for less than the term of the lease (or just a part of the premises), whereas an assignment involves the transfer of the tenant’s entire right of full possession for the entire tenancy. Even if a lease permits subletting or assignment, the original tenant might still have some liability related to the other party.

Property Restrictions

There may also be an agreement that either limits what can be done with the property or allows someone access to the property (i.e. an easement). Such restrictions or access rights may have originated before a tenant leases a particular commercial space, so it is a good idea to inquire about such things before entering into a lease.

Obtaining Legal Representation

Of course, landlord-tenant law for commercial leases can differ from state to state, and therefore, the above information should not be considered as legal advice. Nonetheless, an attorney can assist a client in drafting or negotiating a reasonable commercial lease. Likewise, if problems arise from the use of a commercial space, a lawyer can help their client evaluate and persue the best possible options.