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Why a Lease Review Is Advisable in Florida

Posted by Jane F. Bolin, Esq. | Sep 08, 2021 | 0 Comments

Having a professional look over your lease agreement before signing it could eliminate future problems

Whether you're renting a home or looking to move your business into an updated commercial property, you'll have to sign a lease to make the agreement legally binding. This lease shields your rights as a tenant while also protecting your landlord.

For the most part, these documents are pretty straightforward, as they contain some basic terms and items you and your landlord have agreed upon when discussing the arrangement. 

However, leases, particularly in the commercial realm, can also include ambiguous and confusing language that has the potential to cause issues for you later.

There's the chance the lease could contain certain illegal provisions that could lead to adverse outcomes for you, as well. As a result, a lease review is a good idea before entering into any contract.

Here's a look at some things you should look for, or ideally have an experienced real estate lawyer examine, before signing any lease documents in Florida.

Key Takeaways

  • Leases can be complex documents
  • It's essential to understand all the terms before signing
  • PeytonBolin can provide you with lease review services throughout Florida

Length of the lease

The term of your lease can vary significantly. Residential leases are typically six months or one year in length, but some landlords prefer month-to-month agreements. 

Commercial properties tend to have longer leases, although tenants are increasingly seeking short-term leases that provide more flexibility. 

The length of your lease is negotiable, but you should understand what you're getting into before signing any documents.

Negotiation of terms

Most residential leases don't contain a whole lot of negotiation. The landlord will generally provide a rental amount and some other lease terms, and the tenant can either accept them or find somewhere else to live. 

Commercial leases are a little different because most of the terms are open to negotiation, although there are some common terms included in most of them. For example, you can sometimes ask for reduced rent in exchange for a longer-term lease that provides income certainty for the property owner. 

Rent increases, maintenance fees, and extensions are also negotiable on commercial leases.

Important dates

When is your rent due every month? Are you responsible for late fees if you don't pay on time? Is there a grace period?

You'll want to look carefully at these provisions in your lease agreement because they could end up costing you money if you're even a couple days late paying the rent. 

Other important dates to keep in mind include the end of the lease and any deadlines you have for notifying the landlord that you're terminating the agreement.

End of lease

Carefully go over any provisions relating to the end of your lease. You could have to provide notice that you aren't renewing the agreement by a specific date to prevent it from rolling over for another month. 

Be sure that you understand how the process works as your original lease ends so you don't find yourself stuck in the property longer than you wish to be there. 

The end of the lease agreement is also crucial for those who want to stay in a location. When dealing with a commercial property, there's a chance you'll want to keep your business operating from a building long-term, so it's a good idea to stay on top of the agreement and extend it before any deadlines kick in.

Breaking the lease

What happens if you're forced to break your lease? There could be a provision in your lease stating that you must pay a certain amount of the money owed by a pre-defined date. 

Be clear on what happens when you break a lease because it could end up costing a lot of money if you leave early.

Property maintenance

Your lease agreement will likely include information on who is supposed to take care of the interior and exterior maintenance. Make sure you understand your responsibilities and what the landlord must cover because there could be considerable expenses associated with these jobs. 

You'll want to negotiate the maintenance fees you'll have to pay, too, so you don't end up on the hook for excessive costs that you weren't expecting.

Get everything in writing

It might be tempting to trust your landlord's word, especially if you have a long-term business relationship with them. However, you should always get any provisions you've agreed upon in writing to ensure you're protected. 

For example, if the original lease document says that subletting is prohibited, but you've spoken to your landlord, and they agreed to waive this provision, make sure the lease includes this stipulation. 

Lease review assistance

It's vital that you understand the terms in both commercial and residential lease agreements. You don't want to find yourself having legal or financial issues because a provision was added to the deal that you weren't aware of and it negatively influences your tenancy. 

A lease review is a surefire way to ensure you understand everything in the agreement before you sign, so you aren't left scrambling to understand some of the documentation later. Remember, your landlord likely has an attorney, so it's wise for you to seek legal advice before putting your name on any legal contract. 

PeytonBolin provides real estate legal services across Florida from Fort Lauderdale. Our team can provide you with residential and commercial lease review services to ensure you understand every term and provision in your agreement. We can assist with commercial negotiations, too. Contact PeytonBolin today to learn more about lease reviews.

About the Author

Jane F. Bolin, Esq.

Founding Member, Managing Partner


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