Atlanta Commercial Landlord Tenant and Lease Litigation Attorneys
Whether you are a commercial landlord, tenant, broker or an asset or property manager overseeing housing or another piece of real estate, you will eventually encounter a conflict concerning a lease. When it comes to your property, there are many potential problem areas, including disagreements over common area maintenance, property tax increases, re-location expenses, payment of less than full rent, guaranty default, maintenance or repair failures and violations of local ordinances. These are just a few of the areas of dispute that can erupt between parties. Many property/asset managers and commercial landlords decide to undertake their own measures to evict or dispossess a commercial tenant. Often, these actions can result in disastrous consequences. We work with our clients every day to resolve these types of matters, and if a resolution can not be found, we work with a jury or judge to determine the rights of our clients.
If a default or potential default is about to occur on either side of the bargain, both parties should look at the default and remedies sections of the lease. Most commercial leases will differentiate a non-monetary default from a monetary default. A monetary default is more likely to result in the major remedies such as acceleration of rent and the potential dispossession of the tenant. The tenant, property manager and landlord should use caution to ensure the remedy provisions will stand up to case precedent prior to taking a remedy. Landlords and property managers should be especially careful to avoid resorting to self-help remedies to kick out a tenant without a dispossessory warrant. There could be negative legal repercussions, even if their lease provides for such remedies.
At Hecht Walker, P.C. we look forward to assisting clients in the orderly and lawful enforcement of their legal remedies. The worst result for any party would be to take an action that was seemingly allowed by the lease only to discover the action is in violation of the law. It could create a liability. We look to enforce our client’s rights, defending their interests while helping them to save money and protect their financial position.
Do you handle residential properties in Atlanta?
Generally, our firm only handles commercial leases and commercial real estate disputes. Our commercial real estate attorneys in Atlanta represent property owners, developers, builders, banks, and government entities.
Does abandonment of the premises terminate a commercial lease?
Many times it does not; however, we caution commercial landlords to avoid accepting a surrender of the leased premises since it can also mean losing their right to continue to collect rent and other financial obligations from the defaulting tenant.
Often, tenants experiencing financial difficulties assume that abandoning the premises will terminate their legal and financial obligations under the lease. Abandonment of the premises does not terminate the lease unless it is specifically addressed and provided for in the lease agreement or accepted by the landlord or its agent. We would suggest specific language in the lease explaining that the abandonment or acceptance of keys from the tenant will not constitute the acceptance of a surrender of the premises and will not terminate post-default remedies, such as post-default rent. Note: the laws can be a bit confusing, especially considering the exceptions. It is important to seek an experienced commercial real estate attorney who is familiar with Georgia’s lease and ownership statutes.
Can Hecht Walker, P.C. help with the dispossession of a commercial tenant?
Yes, Hecht Walker, P.C. assists landlords, commercial asset managers, and property management firms in these cases. The eviction and dispossession procedures can be complicated and require a deft approach in order to preserve rights. Our Atlanta attorneys are well versed with the everyday difficulties that are routine in the commercial real estate market. Our firm will carefully review the specifics of your case and provide solid advice and guidance in what your next best move should include.
Do you handle unique commercial real estate matters for tenants and landlords?
Yes, we do. One unique area that we have litigated for example is common area maintenance charges. In commercial leases, you may see the word CAM charge, which stands for common area maintenance. These provisions may be poorly described in the lease or may refer to another document such as a declaration of covenants that is filed in the real estate records office. These charges may be hard to determine if you are the tenant and can present challenges for the property manager. Generally, the charges are for the upkeep of common areas and may increase or decreased based on a certain formula and number of tenants leasing within the premises. These provisions can sometimes lead to litigation due to a failure of language, formula or notification. We have litigated this issue, and we understand the great concerns that these added costs bear upon both the landlord and the tenant.
What if the debtor is out of state?
Our team at Hecht Walker, P.C. may still be able to assist, even if a debtor is out of state. Although the laws change often, the Uniform Domestication of Judgement Act is still enforceable for many states. That means that a judgment obtained in one state can be recorded and enforced in another, as long as both states adhere to the Act. Georgia is a state that observes the Uniform Domestication of Judgement Act and our attorneys can utilize it to obtain payment from a debtor who lives out of state but in a state that recognizes the Act.
Furthermore, commercial foreclosure proceedings are becoming more common in regard to landlord-tenant matters. The language contained in the foreclosure documents is critical to the rights of the landlord and tenant as is the language of the subject lease and any related non-disturbance and subordination agreements. A commercial foreclosure may terminate a lease depending on the foreclosure documents and depending on the prior actions of all the related parties. All parties should check the subject foreclosure documents with a dispossessory attorney prior to asserting their position.
This information was posted on 08-23-2016 and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The law changes on a daily basis, and the reader should engage an attorney through a written agreement before taking action in this area of the law.