COMMERCIAL LEASES

Commercial lease agreements can be complex and lengthy. In the absence of a properly drafted commercial lease agreement, Ontario’s Commercial Tenancies Act governs the relationship between a commercial tenant and the landlord. At Jahanshahi Law Firm, we represent both landlords and tenants in simple and complex commercial leases for office, industrial, and retail properties. Our business law team has the experience and knowledge to draft and review commercial lease agreements that adequately set out the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. A commercial lease is not a “one size fits all contract as all businesses differ from one another. We can protect your rights because we know what clauses are standard and what clauses are overreaching in nature and potentially to expose you and your business to liability.

REPRESENTING LANDLORDS

If you are a landlord, we will begin by conducting an initial consultation to evaluate your business and personal situation to determine which type of commercial lease would best serve your business interests. We help landlords with different types of commercial leases including gross leases, net leases, net-net leases, triple-net leases, and percentage leases. As a landlord, you want a commercial lease agreement that is drafted by a business lawyer and tailored to your specific needs which set out terms that are clear and favorable to you within commercially acceptable norms.

PROTECTING LANDLORD RIGHTS UPON TENANT DEFAULT

A tenant can default on the lease by not paying rent or by not complying with certain terms set out within the commercial lease agreement. As the landlord, you have two options available to you when a tenant defaults on a term of the commercial lease agreement. You can either terminate the lease and sue for damages or keep the lease and recover amounts owing by the tenant through seizing the tenant’s assets. This is often referred to as the right of distraint. When we represent you, we will help you choose an option that is appropriate for your situation and provide you with continued legal support throughout the procedures. In exercising either option, we carefully review the terms of the original lease agreement to ensure proper notice is provided and the correct procedure is followed.

REPRESENTING TENANTS

Commercial leases can be difficult to navigate for tenants. As a tenant, it is highly recommended that you obtain independent legal advice from an experienced business lawyer prior to signing an offer to lease or a commercial lease. Our business law team is highly experienced in reviewing and negotiating commercial leases on behalf of tenants. When drafting or reviewing a commercial lease, our legal team is always cognizant of the different business situations and bargaining powers of the parties entering into the lease agreement. Although the landlord is often granted higher negotiating power, we help ensure that the clauses included in the commercial lease by the landlord are reasonable and within norm for your industry. Some clauses we pay special attention to are set out below:

  • The rent payable including additional rent and costs;
  • Clauses related to repair responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant;
  • Personal guarantee or indemnification provisions in favor of the landlord;
  • Assignment and subletting rights granted to the tenant;
  • Rights of renewal;
  • Insurance provisions;
  • Use clauses; and
  • Improvement and Alternations clauses.

Our experience shows that failure to include specific clauses or limit their effect within a commercial lease can have a detrimental impact on the business of the tenant. The initial investment by the tenant to have an experienced business lawyer review the commercial lease can have the potential to save the business thousands of dollars in legal costs or business losses in the future.

If you have any questions about entering into a commercial lease agreement or enforcing its terms, we invite you to set up an initial consultation with us.

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RESIDENTIAL LEASES

In Ontario, rental housing is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, and the landlord and the tenant must enter into a standard lease stipulated by the province. As a tenant, you are entitled to ask the landlord to provide you with a copy of the standard lease if you did not get one when signing the lease, failing which you are entitled to withhold one month’s rent and if you still have no received the lease after 30 calendar days from the time you withhold rent, you can continue to withhold rent. You will find a link below for downloading a copy of the standard lease. Although the standard lease form exists, we recommend that you have the agreement reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that you understand the agreement and the terms adequately protect your interest.

Download the Standard Form of Lease here

Regardless of whether you are a commercial or residential tenant or landlord, our business law team has the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the intricacies of your tenancy.

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