Top Ten Things to Look For in a Lease

  1. Distinct term: does the lease clearly spell out when the rental period begins, when it ends and whether any renewal options are available?
  2. Distinct description of property: Is the property to be leased clearly described either through a physical address or through a legal description, such as would be found on a deed?
  3. Distinct description of rent payments: Is the amount of the rent clearly noted along with when the rent is due, where payable, and what are any penalties for late payment?
  4. Permitted uses (primarily commercial): Does the lease state what is and isn’t permitted on the property being leased? This particularly applies to a commercial property, but can also apply to a residential property.  Landlord’s don’t want tenants performing activities that are either illegal or prohibited within the zoning of the property.
  5. What constitutes a default and an opportunity to cure (fix the problem): What specific violations are a breach of the lease? How long does the breaching party have to “cure” or fix the violation? What happens if the breaching party doesn’t cure?
  6. Is an assignment or subletting permitted: This, as most provisions are, is a case-by-case determination and depends on the needs and wants of the landlord and the tenant.  However, this still needs to be clearly spelled out in the lease.
  7. Improvements and who owns any improvements made: Is the tenant allowed to make any improvements to the property?  What notification and/or approval is required by the landlord for the improvements? Who owns the improvements after they are made? Are there any conditions on the ownership, such as whether or not the improvements can be removed without damaging the leased property?
  8. Insurance: What insurance is required to be taken out by landlord and tenant? Is the other party to be a “named insured” on any insurance policy? This will differ greatly between commercial and residential leases.
  9. Liability and indemnification: Who is liable for what actions? Does liability include only intentional acts or also negligence? If the other party is sued, does the party that committed the act have to pay for the damaged party’s defense (indemnification)?
  10. Choice of law and choice of venue: Which state’s law governs any disputes? Do any lawsuits due to disputes over the lease have to be brought in a particular jurisdiction?

Although this list is by no means all-inclusive, unlike that resort vacation, it is intended to give you as a landlord or a tenant some things to think about when negotiating a lease.  Above all else, have the lease reviewed by an attorney.  It is much easier and less expensive to pay an attorney to review and negotiate terms in the lease that will try to protect you in the future than to pay an attorney to try to fix a problem that arises later.  “Pay me a little now, or pay me a lot later!”

This is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal advice.  For more information, please contact us.

Copyright 2011: The Klinkenberg Law Firm, LLC, all rights reserved.


New Building Permits

Although new building permits being issued around the Kansas City area are admittedly much lower than they were five years ago, reason for optimism still exists.  According to the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, a significant number of permits are still being issued, both for single-family and for multi-family units.  In the eight counties within the greater Kansas City area, total building permits issued in September, 2011, range from a low of 21 in Miami County, Kansas, to a high of 1,142 in Johnson County, Kansas.  Since spring of 2011, the permits issued have remained fairly steady from month to month.  Just the fact that so many permits are still being issued is cause for optimism.

In our own little corner of the world, Raymore accounted for over 39% of the new permits issued in Cass County, Missouri for the month of September.  With new residential rooftops comes the prospect of new commercial businesses.  Currently, Raymore has three new sizeable businesses either recently opened or currently under construction.  Thirsty Ernie’s Sports Bar & Grill opened on October 10, 2011, and a new Firestone Tire and Auto Center along with Perazelli’s Restaurant are currently being built and are both scheduled to open soon.   Belton currently has a new Price Chopper under construction as well.

As you can see, both residential and commercial development is occurring, albeit more slowly than it was five or six years ago.  We believe that this trend will continue and will soon begin to accelerate.  So there is room for optimism.  The glass is not half empty . . . it is half full if you choose to view it that way!  As the great Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  Let’s continue to take full advantage of that opportunity.

This is not intended to be nor should it be construed as legal advice.  For more information, please contact us.

Copyright 2011: The Klinkenberg Law Firm, LLC, all rights reserved.