Main Areas of Contention in the Commercial Lease Agreement in West Virginia
A commercial lease agreement in West Virginia is a legally binding contract between commercial landlords and tenants. It documents the transfer of the right to use and occupy a commercial property from the landlord to the tenant temporarily at a specific and agreed rental rate. To be deemed valid, the lease agreement may be acknowledged in the presence of a notary in the relevant city. The West Virginia commercial lease agreement is also called a business lease agreement or a commercial real estate lease agreement.
Wondering why you shouldn’t use or sign the standard commercial lease agreement created by the landlord? Well, it turns out that the landlord may do anything they can to charge you more and some of the terms of the lease may be unfavorable. In this article, we’ll look into the common areas of contention in commercial leases. But, before we look at some of those elements, here are the basic elements of the lease agreement.
Description of the leased property
The lease for the commercial property should have an accurate description of the property to be leased. The size should be as they appear in the drawings or you may take new measurements. You should also list the amenities in the space, as well as the exact condition of the premise.
Permitted uses of the lease
Besides the zoning approval details, you need an approved list of permitted uses of the leased property from the landlord. You may add a clause indicating that the business you intend to run is legal, especially if the landlord doesn't categorize it.
The term of the lease
Your commercial property lease agreement may be one for a fixed term lease or a periodic lease. With the fixed-term lease, the lease’s end date is known from the beginning but not for the periodic lease. And in the fixed term lease, the terms of the agreement may not change, or the rent increased unless it’s provided for in the lease agreement. With the periodic lease, change of terms and increase in rent is provided for, and the terms of the lease are negotiable.
Your lease may also be short-term or long-term.
There is not one standard figure acceptable as rent payment statewide, and the rent payable will vary according to the type of lease you choose. Rent payments and expenses vary in the gross lease, net lease, percentage lease, or the modified gross lease.
Now that we have that covered, which are the areas of contention in most commercial leases in the state of West Virginia?
Maintenance and repairs
Even though tenants in commercial properties are responsible for general upkeep and minor repairs, and landlords responsible for the main structural repairs, these two parties hardly agree with the landlord transferring most, if not all the costs of repairs to the tenants. To avoid disputes, you need to make sure that you agree on who caters for which costs before signing the lease. These responsibilities should be as specific as possible.
In most business lease agreements, the tenants pay for the common area maintenance costs (CAM). These costs are for the maintenance of the common areas in the property and other property expenses. Though estimated monthly, most tenants argue and disagree with the methods used by landlords to calculated the amount due. Note that you can always negotiate the CAM fees and decide how much you pay before you sign the lease.
In commercial leases, there are no legal standards that require the landlords to hold security deposits in different, accessible, and identifiable accounts, unlike in the residential leases. As a result, landlords and tenants disagree when the lease is terminated, and the landlord is expected to return the security deposit.
Subleasing and assignment in West Virginia
If you have a long-term lease and after some time it’s no longer capable of meeting your needs, what do you do not to incur high costs associated with breaking the lease? Does the landlord allow subleasing of the space and the subsequent assignment of your rights and obligations to a third party? Well, if you don’t have an answer to these questions before you sign the lease, don’t sign it until the landlord clears the air. When subleasing and assignment of leases is unacceptable, you may have to break the lease – an expensive cost, or stay in the space unnecessarily. To avoid losses and disputes, negotiate the lease to have a provision for subleasing and assignment.
To avoid disputes after signing the lease, confirm that the leased property is ADA compliant before you sign or move in. If not, make sure that the lease identifies the party responsible for the leasehold improvements needed to make the commercial space safe and accessible to persons with disabilities.
Other issues you’d want to be addressed in the lease include:
Dealing with a tenant’s default
Lease renewal and extension
Alterations to the space, and if the tenant needs to leave the space as they found it at the end of the lease
To get started on commercial leases in Charleston, Huntington, Beckley, Morgantown, Martinsburg, Parkersburg, Wheeling or any other city in West Virginia, download our free commercial lease agreement forms today.