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The Role of Lawyers in Commercial Lease Agreements: A Detailed Guide

Location, location, location. It’s something that’s critical for business success, and it’s not often obtained without the help of a commercial real estate lawyer.  A commercial real estate lawyer can help protect you and your business by providing legal advice, ensuring clarity in the terms of your commercial lease agreement, and assisting with dispute resolution related to lease negotiations.

The Two Types of Real Estate Lawyers

You may already know that there are two kinds of real estate lawyers: residential and commercial. While both handle things like zoning laws, reviewing contracts, and negotiations, there are key differences between the two.
  • A residential real estate lawyer focuses on residential properties for individuals and families, which is often more straightforward than commercial real estate. 
  • A commercial real estate lawyer focuses on commercial properties used for operating businesses like retail, manufacturing, and warehousing. Commercial real estate is typically more complex than residential.

What does a commercial real estate lawyer do?

A commercial real estate lawyer provides many critical services when it comes to leasing a commercial property. Primarily, that means two things:
  • Drafting or reviewing a commercial lease — they will work to ensure that the terms and conditions of your lease fit with your business interests and goals, which includes making sure the lease complies with legal standards. It’s not recommended to draft or agree to a commercial lease without trusted legal support; doing so could put you and your business at risk.
  • Negotiating on your behalf — if something is wrong with your commercial lease, your commercial real estate lawyer will negotiate with other parties to protect your interests.
 A commercial real estate lawyer may also assist with zoning laws, corporate issues, and licensing as it relates to your commercial property. 

How a Commercial Real Estate Lawyer Protects Your Business Interests

A good commercial real estate lawyer operates with your best interests in mind, ensuring you and your assets are protected before, during, and after signing a commercial property lease. 

Contract Clarity

A lawyer specializing in commercial real estate will make sure that the terms included in a commercial lease agreement are clear, enforceable, and agreeable with your best interests.  For example: rent. Your lawyer will make sure that all the details of your commercial rent payments, including the amount, frequency, payment methods, and penalties for late or unreceived rent, are included in your agreement. 

Party Clarity

In addition to clarifying the terms of your lease, a lawyer will ensure the details are clear about another crucial area: who is responsible for what? Say you rent retail space on the ground floor of a large apartment complex. You notice a water leak whenever it rains. Who is responsible for fixing it? A commercial real estate lawyer will ensure that scenarios like this don’t result in endless back-and-forth with the property owner or property manager, as the roles and responsibilities of each party — like building maintenance — are clearly defined and enforceable. 


A lawyer will help you negotiate the terms of your commercial lease agreement. Common issues that arise during negotiations are:
  • Deposits (e.g., security deposit)
  • Rent (amount, payment dates, and methods, etc.)
  • Length of lease (e.g., 12-month, 6-month, month-to-month)
  • Repairs
  • Subletting (renting your leased property or a portion of it to someone else while you continue to hold the lease)
  • Lease termination (who can terminate the lease, when, and for what reasons)
 There are additional considerations — including many that are easily overlooked — that a lawyer will negotiate on your behalf before you sign a commercial lease agreement.

Dispute Resolution

If any of the terms of your lease agreement are violated, a commercial real estate lawyer can help you resolve them either through transactions or litigation. For instance, from the above example of a water leak, if your landlord or property manager does nothing to repair the issue, your lawyer will take action. This may mean litigation (or the threat of legal action in many cases).  Again, it’s a bad idea to pursue any such action without a trusted legal advisor taking the lead.

Hire a Commercial Real Estate Lawyer You Can Trust

When it comes to finding a commercial property in which to run your business, don’t go it alone. A commercial real estate lawyer will help set you and your business up for success by drafting or reviewing your commercial lease agreement, clarifying terms, navigating and resolving disputes, and providing legal advice whenever needed. Our team of commercial real estate experts at Basecamp Legal have you covered. We have years of experience and knowledge of commercial real estate law in Denver, Colorado, and beyond, and we’re ready to assist. Get in touch with us today.

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