You may think that commercial lease disputes are relatively simple matters, but this is a multifaceted area of law – the importance of which should not be underestimated. You really need the help of a good lawyer experienced in commercial lease disputes to get you the best possible outcome for your situation. Read on to discover five tips for solving a commercial lease dispute.
Hire Lawyers Early On
There are many possible reasons for commercial lease disputes, as this is a complex area of law. You need to understand your rights and obligations, whether you’re a landlord or a tenant. In order to be completely informed, and avoid putting in writing things that could harm your position, it’s important to consult with lawyers with expertise in commercial lease disputes. If action is taken against the other party, but is not done in line with the law, it could leave you open to counter attacks or it could invalidate your attempts to resolve disputes. It’s always best to have lawyers on your side so you can be sure of taking the best approach for the most optimal outcome.
Understand the Options
It’s quite common in leasing to come across cases of lease breach as a result of non-payment, but there are many other reasons for commercial lease disputes. Both tenants and landlords need to have a clear understanding of how they can move forward in such a situation. A default on an amount of money owed might be a one-off instance, so it may not lead to the termination of the lease. You don’t want to be too heavy handed too early when that kind of approach isn’t necessary. It’s always best if the relations between landlord and tenant can be saved from a rift, as it will make solving commercial lease disputes that much easier. To resolve a breach, you may have the following options:
- Serving a notice of default to remedy breach
- Re-entry of premises and lock-outs
- Commencing legal action to recover losses
It’s important to know that if you don’t follow the right legal processes in taking one of these initiatives, it may invite a counter-claim by the other party. This makes getting legal advice so important.
Serving a Notice of Breach
You may be a landlord who wants to serve a notice of breach relating to a commercial lease, but you should get legal advice to ensure it is conducted lawfully. A notice of breach that’s not drafted correctly or served on the right person could be deemed invalid later by a court of law. You would then have to provide another notice and wait for the specified amount of time in the notice. If there’s no communication between the landlord and tenant, with neither giving an inch, then serving a notice of breach can initiate action and resolution of commercial lease disputes. This can often work well, but always seek advice from a lawyer before you make the decision to go ahead.
Re-Entry of Premises and Lock-Outs
If the tenant doesn’t do anything to resolve the breach in the notice served in the time period specified, then a landlord can initiate a lock-out. Another notice must be served for a lock-out to occur. A locked out tenant can apply for an urgent injunction to gain access to the premises again. If the lockout is deemed unlawful, the tenant may be able to claim compensation.
Legal Action in the Courts
Commercial lease disputes are usually handled by VCAT. Often matters can be resolved before landing in court by using such interventions as private negotiation and mediation, but litigation can move commercial lease disputes towards resolution in the form of a settlement and correction of the default. Seek out a litigation lawyer with experience in commercial lease disputes to help you.