Commercial Vs. Residential Leases.

People often think of a lease as a lease. Not all leases are the same! There are significant differences between leases for commercial versus residential real estate. Your rights and responsibilities are quite different between the two.

Residential leases are designed for home use. They are intended for daily living for individuals or families. This is not the primary use of property leased for commercial purposes. Some commercial leases specifically forbid the use of the property as a domicile.

Commercial leases are designed for business use. The property is to be used to produce or sell products or services. Commercial leases commonly specify the exact business operations that are allowed on the property. Residential leases frequently forbid commercial activities on the premises.

There are greater legal protections for residential tenants than there are for commercial tenants. This difference is based on the assumption that commercial tenants will have more legal skill, knowledge, and sophistication than residential tenants. There are therefore laws protecting residential tenants from residential landlords.

The length of leases varies. Residential leases are commonly for one year while commercial leases are usually for a minimum of 3-5 years.

The responsibility for maintenance and repair of the property is typically very different for residential and commercial properties. Residential tenants are usually responsible for very little. If a repair is needed, the residential tenant needs to notify the landlord who will have to fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time. Typically the commercial tenant is responsible for much more. The commercial landlord is often only responsible for the building itself while the tenant is responsible for everything else. The lease will specify exactly who is responsible for what.

Leases are legally binding agreements. It is advisable to have your attorney write or review your lease before you sign it. This can avoid costly future problems. Contact Shoffner & Associates before you sign your lease.

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Freya Allen Shoffner, Esq.
Shoffner & Associates
Counselors to Small Business and Families.

Give Freya a call at (617) 369-0111 TEXT US (857) 524-3422 or email