Should A Grown-Up Tenant Clean Up Its Room When It Leaves For College?

Print

Is there something like a law that says a tenant, at the end of a lease’s term, has to surrender the leased space in the same condition as it was at the start of the term? Does a common legal stationer’s form’s rendering of this requirement, “return the Rental Space to the Landlord in the same condition as it was at the beginning of the Term except for normal wear and tear,” have a single meaning, one that everyone would agree-upon once the space was inspected post-departure?

Before we deconstruct the word “condition” as used in the described context, Ruminations will look at the broader question – “In what condition should a tenant yield up the physical space it is vacating?” We think that question cannot be answered in the abstract. What’s the business deal? [Read more...]

Print

Keep Writing Your Agreements That Way – The Litigators Love You

Print

Has Ruminations ever suggested that those who negotiate and prepare agreements take to heart the following message: “Words matter – say what you mean and mean what you say”? Yes, and more than once or twice. In fact, more than novence.

Will that stop us from doing so again? No.

Today we look at a lease that said: “All disputes under this Lease, OTHER THAN THOSE RELATING TO THE PAYMENT OF RENT OR OTHER CHARGES BY TENANT, must be submitted to arbitration.” The tenant under this lease vacated the leased premises, failed to pay rent and other charges, didn’t remove its fixtures, and didn’t restore the leased premises to the contractually required condition. With that in mind, we are going to find out what monetary claims were subject to arbitration and what claims were not. Had the parties said what they meant, Ruminations wouldn’t be able to tell you their story. [Read more...]

Print

A Million Dollar Lease Drafting Lesson

Print

An “Evergreen” contract is one that renews over and over. So does an “Evergreen” letter of credit. So does the topic that follows – how, if your documents are not written carefully, courts may do damage. And, perhaps “written” isn’t the real activity to be scrutinized and “thought-through” would be a better choice of words.

Today, we are going to look at a late April court decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York: In re: The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. You can see it by clicking HERE.

This is about A&P’s bankruptcy and even without knowing the disputed issue, a very good guess is that the bankrupt estate will be enhanced by the court’s ruling. If that is a little cynical on the part of Ruminations, then so be it. While there are conflicting public policies involved in bankruptcy matters, one seems to loom over almost all others: “get more money into the pot to pay unsecured creditors.”

Read on; look at the decision itself; you decide. [Read more...]

Print

Getting On The Same Page When It Comes To Operating Expense (CAM Costs) Reporting

Print

A lot of trees have been cut down for the paper used to write about operating expenses or common area costs. That’s because when you talk about passing along operating costs, you are talking real money. Yet, aside from deals where the operating expense charge is a fixed (and usually escalating) amount, far less negotiation is had for a nickel or a dime per square foot of operating expenses than is the case with the same nickel or dime of basic rent. Yet, a nickel is a nickel and a dime is a dime [See: John Lee Hooker, Bottle Up & Go], whether called base rent or operating expenses. In sum, like weather, everybody talks about it, but nobody can do anything about it. But, is that really true? In part, “Yes”; in part, “No.” Here’s our attempt to start a discussion – kill more trees. [Read more...]

Print

Why Should Anyone Care If They Don’t Know What Constitutes An Insurable Interest In Property?

Print

It isn’t intuitive whether someone has an “insurable interest” in someone else’s property, but without one, an additional insured or loss payee will not see any money from that insured’s property insurance policy. This subject, admittedly, is a “little” arcane. So, we’ll try to explain is by way of a story, actually a court’s decision.

There is a lesson to be learned from a recent Bankruptcy Court decision where, most uncharacteristically, the court ruled against the bankrupt estate. Somewhat surprisingly, but probably correctly, it held that a bankrupt tenant’s landlord “owned” the insurance proceeds and took that money out of the reach of the debtor or its other creditors.

Yes, the landlord got to keep the insurance proceeds from insurance the tenant purchased to cover the tenant’s personal property. [Read more...]

Print

Do I Have To Pay Operating Expense Charges Or Taxes That My Landlord Just Billed Me For After Five Years?

Print

We’ve pondered, actually struggled, to post a piece exploring the answer to the often asked, “Do I have to pay operating expense charges or taxes that my landlord just billed me for after five years?” What we’ve found is that there is no simple answer if the lease in question doesn’t specifically cover delayed billings like this. That’s also true for related questions such as, “We never increased our rent payment after extending its term and now, five years later, our landlord wants all the back rent – do we have to pay?” Or, to, “We’ve been paying the wrong rent, can we get our money back? [Read more...]

Print

This Is A (Leasing, Sale, Loan) Deal. Why Have You “Gone Missing”?

Print

If you don’t like screeds, stop right now and we’ll see you next week after the extended July 4 holiday. Otherwise, tread lightly as you read on.

Doing a lease, a loan or a sale (and things like that) shouldn’t be like doing a divorce; it should be like doing an adoption. These are just business deals; just “money.” No one is or should be besmirching anyone’s reputation, seeking revenge or taking children away. And, even if that were the case, the negotiators are not the angry parties. Presumably, they are professionals. [Read more...]

Print

How Much Should It Cost To Kick-Out Of A Lease? Not As Much As Is Being Asked.

Print

Today, we’ll start in the middle of our thoughts by opening with an example that we’re going to return to several times in this week’s posting. You can have a five year lease with an option (in favor of the tenant) to extend its term by five years, or you can have a ten year lease with the tenant having the option to end it at the five year point. In fact, you can do those numbers any way you want. So, what’s the difference?

Psychology aside, probably nothing if the math wizards are at work. Perhaps, one party or the other can play around with the tax treatment given to the lease. But, basically, the present value for each five year segment should be the same. If someone were to suggest that having the right to terminate the lease early protects a tenant against [Read more...]

Print