Leases Are Not Forms and Should Not Be Treated as Office Supply Documents
Leases Are Not “Forms”
I occasionally have clients request a simple “form” lease, for various purposes ranging from commercial leases to simple residence tenants. Sometimes, a standard lease that can be purchased at any office supply or book store will suffice for simple, short-term, informal situations. However, parties to a lease must understand that the document’s terms will govern nearly every aspect of their business relationship; including and especially if the relationship sours.
Leases should be looked at with an eye toward the future, not with a focus on the present. The two questions answered by leases are 1) what do I have to do now; and 2) what happens if [insert situation] occurs. Many disputes between landlords/tenants or lessors/lessees would not arise if the parties took a few minutes to sit down together and look at the lease when they sign it.
Before signing a lease, parties should both understand the agreement, consequences if the terms can’t be met, and discuss dispute resolution procedures to be utilized if the parties do not want the lease to terminate without some effort to cure the breach. It is worthwhile to invest some time and funds with a lawyer at the beginning of the relationship, rather than be faced with a crisis situation where
a large retainer may be required to send demand letters mandated by a lease,
evict a delinquent tenant,
engage in arbitration,
or take other formal steps to enforce the lease.
And all this happening at a time when lease payments haven’t been received for some period of time. Leases, like many legal documents, govern your business and specify what happens during crisis. Give these important instruments their due consideration.
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Patric McCallum is a principal attorney with Drew & McCallum. He focuses his practice on family and business law, helping business leaders and Texas families with their legal challenges and needs. He brings a wealth of trial experience and industry knowledge to every matter he handles.