A common issue that we come across at Berlin Patten Ebling involves dealing with the aftermath of clients that enter into form lease agreements that they find online. While we understand how easy it is to Google the term “Florida lease agreement,” the form lease agreements provided online often lack clarity with respect to significant legal terms and are missing important legal provisions required under Florida Statutes.
The most common issues we see in both commercial and residential lease agreements found online include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Ambiguous language regarding rent terms (both commercial and residential);
* Failure to include statutory language regarding security deposits (residential);
* Condition of the premises upon commencement of the lease term (both commercial and residential);
* Type and amount of insurance(s) required (both commercial and residential);
* Maintenance and repair provisions (both commercial and residential);
* Notice and cure periods not properly defined (both commercial and residential);
* Common Area Maintenance (“CAM”) charges and prorations (commercial);
* Terms of renewal options (both commercial and residential);
* Build-out time frames, expenses, and expectations (commercial);
* Relocation clauses (commercial);
* Prohibitions on assignment and subletting (both commercial and residential); and
* Leases containing option to purchase provisions that fails to clearly provide the terms and conditions of the option (both commercial and residential).
More often than not, a poorly drafted lease agreement will result in an unnecessarily costly eviction process that may have been avoided had a skilled attorney been involved on the front end. There is a British saying I like to use, “penny wise, pound foolish.” In this instance, I think of it as people who cut corners on small costs (the use of a form lease agreement), but paid dearly in terms of significant legal expense on the back end (the cost of litigation that results from the use of a poorly drafted form lease agreement). Given the complexity involved in both commercial and residential lease agreements, we find that it is more beneficial (and less costly), to consult with your local real estate attorney prior to executing any lease agreement.
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
Article Authored by William C. McComb, Esq. email@example.com
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