Nobody wants to experience a lawsuit as a commercial landlord. If you lease commercial property, you want to do your best to ensure your relationships with your tenants do not go sour. Sometimes, a simple disagreement may turn into a costly lawsuit.
It is crucial to follow some guidelines to reduce your chances of litigation. Here are some ways you can avoid your lease turning into a lawsuit.
1. Thoroughly screen prospective tenants
According to real estate website Trulia, you should conduct a background check on every potential tenant as a landlord. Your screening process should include the following:
- Checking credit scores
- Contacting previous landlords
- Contacting employers
- Conducting an interview
While you should not try to find an absolutely perfect tenant because one does not exist, you should do your due diligence to avoid someone who is clearly going to be a problem.
2. Write your lease
There are a lot of commercial landlords who simply make handshake agreements. These deals are difficult to challenge or prove if something goes wrong. Make sure your lease is in writing and pertains to your particular situation. Review your lease every now and then and make amendments when necessary.
3. Document all breaches
If your tenant does something wrong, even if it is minor, take note of it. You should also notify your tenant whenever an infraction occurs. Detailed documentation of lease breaches will help you if anything goes to court later.
4. Try to get along
You should try your best to establish and maintain a friendly rapport with your tenants. If you send a holiday card or gift basket here or there, it may deter your tenant from wanting to sue you for a problem. Instead, your tenant may be more willing to work things out with you personally.
Being a commercial landlord takes a lot of patience and hard work, but these four tips should help you avoid lawsuits.