Do I Really Need an Attorney to Negotiate a Commercial Lease?

In brief, yes. Commercial tenants absolutely need the help of experienced and tough NYC commercial lease lawyers to help negotiate commercial leases. We provide those services here at Wright Law Firm NYC. We can be reached at (212) 619-1500. But if you do not want to call us, we strongly urge you to contact a good lawyer to help. You will need an attorney.

Why? Commercial leases are long and complex and contain many provisions that, without legal experience, guidance, and advice, can impose significant financial future obligations that may make your business unprofitable. Let’s look at just one example.

In many commercial leases, a clause will require the commercial tenant to pay for improvements to bring the leased space into compliance with codes and NYC ordinances. A sample clause might read like this:

“Tenant, at the tenant’s sole cost and expense, shall comply with all present and future laws, ordinances, and regulations which shall impose a violation, order, or duty upon the landlord or tenant concerning the rented premises, whether or not arising out of tenant’s use or manner of use of the premises.”

This may seem simple, but it imposes enormous potential financial obligations on the commercial tenant. Suppose, for example, that the premises are in a small commercial building — maybe a two-story building with a ground-floor retail space. Perhaps no code or ordinance currently requires fire suppression — like overhead sprinklers. Based on the wording of the above provision, if the regulations or laws were changed to require such, the commercial tenant would be obligated to pay for the installation “at the tenant’s sole cost and expense.”

Compliance with Local Law 97

Vital as they have been, these commercial lease clauses will become even more important to recognize and negotiate now and in the future. This is because of the passage of Local Law 97 here in NYC. Local Law 97 is NYC’s attempt to lower greenhouse emissions and energy consumption. For now, Local Law 97 applies only to the City’s largest buildings aiming to progressively reduce emissions by 40% in 2030 and 80% in 2050. The law has a long list of mandatory steps that must be taken by landlords and building owners aimed at achieving the reductions.

However, it is widely expected that Local Law 97 will be applied to even the smallest commercial buildings and will eventually apply to residential buildings and single-family homes. Concerning commercial spaces, a clause like the one listed above will require that the TENANT pay for the costs of bringing the retail space into compliance with Local Law 97. That might be very expensive.

So, yes, you DO need an attorney to negotiate a commercial lease.

First, an experienced NYC commercial lease attorney will recognize — because of experience and legal training — the dangers that lurk in a clause like the one above. Second, So, yes, you DO need an experienced lawyer to negotiate a commercial lease. For example, the above clause could be amended by adding  a terminal phrase: “…. except for obligations imposed by NYC Local Law 97.” Adding exceptions is one way of limiting the potential risks that arise with these types of clauses.

Contact the NYC Commercial Lease Negotiators at Wright Law Firm NYC Today

For more information, call the experienced New York commercial lease and real estate attorneys at Wright Law Firm NYC. We provide top-tier commercial real estate legal services for the NYC business community. To schedule a consultation, contact our office by e-mail or call us at (212) 619-1500.