How to Resolve Commercial Landlord & Tenant Disputes

How to Resolve Commercial Landlord & Tenant Disputes

In New Jersey, commercial landlord and tenant relationships involve specific rights and responsibilities for each party. When either party fails to comply with contractual obligations, serious legal issues can arise. Our New Jersey commercial real estate attorneys have put together a helpful blog to guide you towards a resolution.

Commercial Landlord Responsibilities

Commercial real estate landlords must follow specific guidelines when dealing with tenants. If your landlord is making your business operation difficult, you have the right to take legal action against them. Commercial landlords must follow the guidelines below:

  • Provide adequate locks and keys to the commercial building
  • Maintain and repair the premises to comply with commercial building codes and regulations
  • Maintain electrical, plumbing, and heating in good working order
  • Keep the premises in reasonably weather-tight condition
  • Control infestations by insects, rodents, and other pests before the tenant moves in, and in residences through tenancy
  • Provide smoke detectors and ensure they work properly when a new tenant moves in

Failing to adhere to these specific clauses in an agreed-upon leasing contract can result in legal action against the property owner. However, it is important to note that the landlord is not responsible for the cost of damages caused by the tenant.

Commercial Tenant Responsibilities

Similar to landlords, tenants must also comply with their responsibilities. If a tenant fails to fulfill the obligations listed below, their landlord can evict them and take legal action against them:

  • Pay rent and utilities according to the rental agreement
  • Maintain the premises in a sanitary condition
  • Do not cause intentional or careless damage to the dwelling
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors
  • Upon moving out, restore the premises to the same condition as when the tenant moved in, aside from normal wear and tear

Both parties are also responsible for fulfilling their contractual obligations. If one party breaks the contract, the non-breaching party can file a lawsuit to recover damages.

Payment Disputes

One of the most common landlord-tenant problems is payment disputes. If your tenant is failing to make payments as agreed in your contract, you have grounds for eviction.

Landlords need to take certain steps to evict a commercial tenant through a summary dispossession action. To initiate a summary dispossession action, the landlord petitions in Landlord-Tenant Court of the Special Civil Part of the New Jersey Superior Court in the county where the rental property sits. Our team at M. Ross & Associates, LLC can help you with this process.

How to Protect Yourself from Commercial Real Estate Disputes

A force majeure clause is a contractual provision that excuses one or both parties’ performance obligations when circumstances arise, which are beyond the parties’ control and make the performance of the contract impractical or impossible. Essentially, this clause protects both tenants and landlords from legal repercussions in the event of certain extenuating circumstances.

If either party finds itself in one of the following situations, a force majeure clause can protect them from a major lawsuit:

  • Unexpected situations, such as severe acts of nature or weather events including floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or explosions
  • War, acts of terrorism, and pandemics
  • Acts of governmental authorities such as expropriation, condemnation, and changes in laws and regulations
  • Strikes and labor disputes
  • Certain accidents

The above conditions can cause economic hardship for tenants and landlords, but it is important to note that economic hardship on its own is typically not enough to qualify as a force majeure event.

What Should I Do to Resolve a Commercial Real Estate Dispute?

Commercial real estate disputes can lead to a lengthy litigation process. To protect yourself, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Commercial real estate laws are complex, so you need an attorney who specializes in helping tenants and landlords with real estate disputes.

Our team at M. Ross & Associates, LLC is familiar with landlord/tenant proceedings at the state court level. We provide clients with the competent legal assistance they need to achieve their desired case results.

Contact us today at (201) 897-4942 to schedule an appointment with our New Jersey real estate attorneys!

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