Commercial real estate often involves much higher stakes than residential. The law also provides far fewer protections for commercial buyers. The expectation is that both sides of a “commercial” transaction will have the resources to conduct their own due diligence. Everything from the purchase or sales agreement to the financing of the transaction is more detailed and complicated than what you find in a residential transaction. It’s more like buying a business than a simple property transaction.
Breach of Purchase or Sale Agreement – While there are fewer legal standards when it comes to commercial transactions, Florida law still requires that all contracts relating to real estate, even commercial, be in writing. Often with commercial property transactions there will be a formal letter of intent to buy issued before a final purchase or sales agreement is drafted. These are all formal contracts outlining the specifics of the transaction. Avoid unnecessary disputes and litigation. Get these contracts and agreements reviewed before signing so that you understand the full scope of the deal. If you fail to meet your responsibilities you could be found in breach of the contract. Breaches of the purchase or sales agreement can happen in a variety of different ways. It can be something as simple as failure to secure financing to something as complicated as a failure to make the property free from environmental hazards. Due to the amount of money involved these types of disputes often wind up in court.
Commercial Landlord-Tenant Issues – One common source of commercial real estate litigation is landlord-tenant issues. Often, the contracts that govern the rental of commercial property are complicated and give both parties many different duties. Landlords and tenants may have disputes about the amount of rent due, payment of other fees, the proper formula for rent increases, who pays for repairs, and the suitability of the space for the intended purpose. Commercial tenants have almost none of the protections that the law affords residential tenants. Because of this, commercial landlord-tenant issues often end up the subject of complex litigation. Many landlord-tenant disputes can be avoided by having a lawyer negotiate the lease for you or by getting the commercial lease, provided by the landlord, reviewed before signing. That way you know what your rights and obligations are as outlined in the lease.
Commercial and Retail Evictions – The ultimate remedy for a commercial landlord is to evict a commercial or retail tenant. Eviction is a legal process. In commercial real estate the terms of an eviction are typically governed by the lease agreement. Commercial and retail tenants do not have to accept a landlord’s attempt to evict them. They are able to fight the attempted eviction in court and to make their claim that they are not in default and that the landlord’s attempt at an eviction is unlawful. We represent both landlords and tenants in eviction proceedings. We also represent lenders involved in both foreclosure and post foreclosure eviction matters.
Negligent Design, Planning, or Construction – Often part of buying or leasing a commercial property involves the building or modifying of structures on the property. If there is an issue with the way the structure is designed, planned, or built the buyer or tenant may need to turn to litigation to recover damages or force the seller or landlord to fix the defects. Construction litigation cases require expert testimony, inspections, and extensive documentation.
Most legal disputes related to commercial transactions can be avoided by working with a real estate transaction attorney when you are negotiating a commercial lease, or purchasing a property. At a minimum you should get the commercial lease reviewed prior to signing or have all the purchase contracts reviewed before the settlement / closing.