Commercial Leases

Leases and Renting

Preparing Leases and Title Searches - Howard Nightingale Professional CorporationPeople tend to use the term renting and leasing interchangeably: someone might say. “I’m renting/leasing an industrial unit.” Rental, however, tends to refer to short term agreements, as is the case when renting a car or a tool for several days. Agreements for the long term, as is the case for commercial properties, involve leases.

While the lessee (the renter) should read the lease terms carefully, lessors must draw up the agreement such that they are fully protected. As a landlord, for example, you are putting thousands of dollars of property as well as the future income from it, into the hands of a stranger. Many tenants are reputable, but it simply makes good sense to protect yourself and your property from those who are not.

Commercial matters fall under the Ontario Commercial Tenancies Act, 1990. Fortunately for commercial landlords, this law is flexible, giving them reasonable control over the specifics of the tenancy lease as a result. Please refer to my blog on commercial leasing for a more detailed discussion: Signing a Commercial Lease? How well do you know Your Rights and Responsibilities?.

In order to effectively prepare commercial leases, Howard Nightingale will:

Draw the lease

There are inexpensive “off the shelf” leases available for sale in stores and on the Internet. Some of them aren’t all that bad, and some are prepared for the Ontario market. Given a good tenant and no problems, these will often work fine. But these are limited in that they are ‘one-size fits all, documents’ and unfortunately, things don’t always go smoothly. In contrast, Howard Nightingale is completely familiar with the laws that apply in Ontario, and will take the time to become familiar with your specific requirements. The result is a tailor-made lease to protect you to the full extent of the law.

Review and Advise on the lease

Not every situation involves a new lease. You might have an agreement already in effect and need some advice due to a situation that has recently arisen, or you might have a lease in effect for many years and you simply want to check on its current, legal accuracy and effectiveness.
On the other hand, you might be the lessee: tenants also assume risk when they sign a lease; accordingly Howard Nightingale will ensure that the lease is fair, that it contains standard legal protection and doesn’t introduce anything that could compromise the lessee during the term that the lease is in effect. Having a solid legal opinion both protects lessees and gives them peace of mind.

Sub-search of title or additional searches and services provided related to the leased premises.

The Ontario Land Registry is now an up-to-date electronic database that provides a wealth of information. In addition to its use for property sales and purchases, it is an effective tool for leasing situations as well. When you lease, for example, you can be affected by any dispute involving the specific property. Therefore, you need to know that the owners listed on the lease are the actual owners, that there are no existing liens against the property, no existing sales to take place during your tenancy, and so on. This is why Howard Nightingale will do title searches even for leasing situations.

Draw up commercial leases including negotiations and all other services.

In summation, the flexibility of the Commercial Tenancies Act, 1990 allow both parties to negotiate a mutually satisfactory agreement; but to ensure that outcome, a close scrutiny of any leasing arrangement is necessary for both lessor and lessee.


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