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What steps should be taken after commercial real estate disputes?

Commercial leases can be complex, and they come with a lot of information that isn't typically included in residential leases. Most businessmen and women have dealt with contracts enough to understand how serious mistakes can become, so they know it's important to vet leases thoroughly before signing them. If you don't understand the language in a lease you are responsible for signing, seeking third-party, professional advice can be helpful.

Even after you vet a lease, though, you can run into trouble. Disputes with commercial landlords are typically less common than disputes with residential landlords, but issues can arise. Whether you don't agree on requirements for signage or you believe a landlord is shirking on his or her maintenance requirements, it's important to understand how to try to resolve disputes and then move to legal action if resolution is not possible.

First, approach the landlord with a request for a resolution or even a solution for the problem. Document the communication for use later if necessary; often, it's best to do a lot of the communication in writing for this purpose. If the landlord doesn't respond to your communication in a positive manner -- or doesn't respond at all -- you can try again a few times before taking the next step.

After trying to resolve an issue yourself, the next step might be seeking assistance from a lawyer. A legal professional can help you weigh the benefits of filing any type of legal document. Sometimes, simply having a lawyer communicate with the landlord can make a difference in how a dispute is resolved. Ultimately, it's essential that you understand your business rights and work to protect them in situations where you feel a landlord is mistreating you.

Source: Smart Business, "How to deal with a commercial landlord and what to do if you end up in a dispute," Heather Tunstall, accessed Jan. 01, 2016

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Yigal Rifkind, Barrister & Solicitor Attorney

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