Would you hire a residential real estate broker to find you commercial office space? Probably not. Therefore, you should hire a real estate attorney to handle your commercial office lease, not your business attorney.
Many tenants believe their business attorney can negotiate a commercial real estate lease. Business attorneys are generalists whereas real estate attorneys are specialists and that is the only type of legal work they handle.
Commercial real estate law focuses on contracts that can be complex and lengthy by nature and covers a broad range of activities that governs retail centers, office buildings, hotels, apartment complexes, or vacant property slated for development.
Commercial real estate contracts cover, among other things:
– Time frame for the lease or sale
– Conditions that each party must satisfy to avoid breach; damages for breach
– Warranties from each party ensuring performance; and any other issue the parties find important to the deal
– Construction and Tenant Improvements
– Space rental
– Sale of commercial property
Commercial real estate lawyers are experienced at negotiating, drafting, and interpreting a commercial real estate contract, and are a valuable resource for both parties.If you are planning on entering into a commercial real estate lease, you should have a commercial real estate attorney help you with the negotiations and review of the lease to make sure you are legally protected. A commercial real estate attorney understands commercial real estate and landlord tenant laws, and can explain them to you.
The attorney can also help you with renewals, subleases and assignments and represent you in court in landlord/tenant disputes.
Other common reasons you should hire a real estate attorney instead of a general business attorney:
Renting/Purchasing: If you plan to rent office space, or purchase a commercial building or property, a real estate attorney can assist you in complying with landlord/tenant law, develop a lease or land or building sale agreement.
New Construction: Handle construction defects and mechanic’s liens, including disputes that owners, builders and contractors may have in regard to construction disputes, construction defects and claims.
Zoning and Permits: Help resolve disputes over zoning, land use and permits matters, including representation of property owners before governmental entities (cities, counties, zoning boards, design review boards) relating to land use
applications, permits variances, zoning exceptions, design review approvals, and special use permits, as well as interpretation and enforcement of Covenants and Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R‘s).
Taxes: Real estate attorneys can offer advice on minimizing tax issues.
Real Estate Broker Issues: Including claims against and defense of real estate brokers and agents including negligence, fraud/misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, disclosure obligations.