Some real estate transactions involve property which is leased, rather than owned. The law relating to commercial leases spans all industries throughout B.C. It may be a leased shopping centre on reserve lands, a ground lease, a lease of a whole building, a lease of part of a building, a residential condo in False Creek leased from the City of Vancouver or a leasehold strata at the University of British Columbia or Simon Fraser University.

Often, anyone leasing a property will start with an offer to lease. Sometimes it begins with a letter of intent. Ultimately, a lease agreement is signed. The lease may include a right of first refusal or right of first offer, tenant's improvement allowance, option to renew or extend, fixturing period, restrictive covenants on use, exclusive use rights or relocation rights.

Since a lease usually puts many restrictions on how a landlord and tenant must act for a certain amount of time, you may want to have a lawyer review any lease documents (including any offer or letter of intent) before you sign them or make them subject to your lawyer's review. Otherwise, you may find that you have agreed to something which you did not intend to and it may be difficult to change that afterwards.

Commercial leases may also involve financing from lenders to the landlord or tenant. This may require a mortgage, non-disturbance agreement or other loan and security documents.

After a lease is signed, sometimes a landlord or tenant may decide to assign the lease or sell their business. Others may want help collecting rent arrears, getting tenant repairs done or evicting a tenant who is in default. A tenant may want help with getting its landlord to properly maintain the building, provide adequate utilities or not overcharge operating costs. A lender may need to enforce its security by foreclosing on the landlord or tenant's interest under the lease.

Our real estate lawyers have significant background in advising on all of the above from routine leases to unique and very complex ones.