Landlord-Tenant Law

Commercial Landlord-Tenant Law

Many businesses lease office and retail space and sign commercial leases as tenants. Most leases are form contracts presented by large commercial broker/agents, but the terms are usually negotiable. Triple-net leases are common, and personal guarantees for individual business owners are the rule rather than the exception. A qualified real estate attorney can assist small business tenants in understanding the advantages and disadvantages of a long-term lease, and put them in a position to negotiate both appropriate duration and options to renew. Other issues concern common area maintenance (CAM) costs, fixtures, taxes, and tenant improvements.

If issues of possession are involved, the landlord must follow certain statutorily prescribed procedures to gain possession (which are not the same as the procedures for residential evictions), and are often more landlord-friendly vis-à-vis residential evictions.

Our firm represents both landlords and tenants in commercial and retail lease negotiations and conflict resolution. If matters result in litigation, the parties are best served in having an experienced attorney to navigate through the complexities of gaining possession and recovering contractual damages. Usually, attorney’s fees clauses will be included in the lease agreement. Thus, the stakes are that much higher when the losing party is also required to pay the prevailing party’s reasonable attorney’s fees.

Residential Landlord-Tenant Law

In most instances, the key to success for landlords is to gain possession of the premises as soon as possible, and if the tenant is not judgment proof, to pursue damages in a later action. Pre-screening tenants is the most effective means to avoid later problems. It is important to always have a written lease with terms most favorable to the landlord. While some tenants have learned to use and abuse the system to stretch out their free ride, the landlord can mitigate the loss by having a knowledgeable attorney, and gain possession sooner than what might otherwise be realized. Residential tenant evictions require strict compliance with various rules and procedures, and landlord errors may require the landlord to “start over.” Further, state funding of the court system in California has been reduced in recent years, meaning that substantial delays in the process have been experienced.

Unlawful Detainer

Landlords looking to reclaim their rental units from tenants who are unable or refuse to pay must follow the steps of an “unlawful detainer,” a court proceeding which gives a landlord the right to evict a tenant. Those who try to evict without using this proceeding will not receive legal authorization. Whether it is a matter of not receiving rent or other less common reasons, the landlord must follow a series of steps before eviction can occur. The only way to legally evict a tenant is if the landlord wins the unlawful detainer suit. Even after winning the suit, a landlord cannot have any hand in the removal of a tenant, and must leave all other interactions to the sheriff.

We Can Help

Our experienced attorneys have represented real estate investors, large landlord businesses such as apartment complexes, and property management companies. Please contact NewPoint Law Group online or at 1-800-358-0305 to schedule a free consultation today.

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