Thursday, March 4, 2010

Can't Pay the Rent?

In these economic times I have, unfortunately, had a few clients who have been struggling to continue to make their monthly lease payments on their commercial or industrial space. When they call, I usually give them this advice: let's call the landlord. The most practical piece of advice a lawyer can give in these situations, in my opinion, is to keep the lines of communication open. Sure the landlord wants to get paid, but he may also be willing to negotiate with you, over the short term, in order to keep you as a long term tenant. Often, the last thing he wants is to have to look for a new tenant. Of course, every situation is different, and yes, sometimes landlords are just waiting for the opportunity to distrain a tenant's goods and lock them out, but if your business has always paid its rent on time, and you are simply in need of a little flexibility to get you over a short-term hurdle, a phone call to the landlord can't hurt. We have had some success in negotiating alternative rental arrangements to get clients through hurdles. Letting the landlord know that you want to pay the rent, and asking him for a plan to make that happen, can be an up-front and straight-forward approach, and an excellent alternative to simply ignoring his calls and not paying your rent on time.

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