September 2016 Archives

Words can have the power to cause pain

Freedom of speech is a marvelous right given to all Americans. Politicians are free to hurl insults at each other in the guise of debates and political ads. Newspaper reporters can write stories about how the food industry works to manipulate how we view fat and sugar. And the average citizen can post on Facebook about how she will no longer be shopping at Big Box Store X because she does not like their new line of home furniture, without worrying that her post will result in a midnight knock at the door. This freedom of expression does have some limits, however. A person or group of people cannot engage in libel or slander without the possibility of repercussion.

5 points to consider before signing a commercial lease

When it comes time for a business to find a home, there is a lot to be decided. Once the perfect place is found, the lessor and lessee alike will want to work to ensure that the lease is favorable to both parties. Here are five points to consider before signing a commercial lease:

  • Rent: This is one of the most fundamental aspects of negotiating a favorable lease. Rent does not refer solely to the amount you pay every month. This aspect of the contract will cover topics such as rent increases and who will pay for various operating costs (e.g. the electric bill).
  • Property Description: If your company is planning to rent an entire building, the description of the property you are renting may be fairly straightforward. If, however, you are only renting some office space, it's critical to have the lease spell out exactly how your space will look and to how much space your company is entitled. If, for example, the offices you are renting offer common areas your lease will need to specify who has access and who exactly is responsible for maintenance of these areas.
  • Termination: There are many reasons that you may need to end your lease earlier than planned. Your lease should spell out the details of how and when you may end your lease. On the flip side, you will also want to ensure that your landlord cannot suddenly terminate your arrangement without notification and due cause.
  • Use: Landlords may be very particular about how you use the space you are renting. Ensure that your lease allows for all of your desired business activities, from hanging signs to hosting parties.
  • Non-Compete Clauses: Depending on your type of business, you may wish to negotiate a non-compete with your landlord. This basically says that your landlord may not rent additional nearby spaces to stores or companies that engage in business similar to yours.

Landlords: avoid these legal blunders at all costs

Being a landlord is tough. Aside from fixing air conditioners and unclogging sinks, there are legal matters to consider. It can be difficult to figure out what rights you have, what rights your tenant has, and what to do in cases where the two overlap.

A short guide to drafting contracts

If you run a business, there's no way to avoid them; business contracts are just a part of the deal. And, as annoying as they can be, a well-written contract can be the difference between losing your business and staying afloat. It may be the only thing protecting you and your business from a range of potential threats.