We have a lease for a commercial office building for 5 years. We have only been in for 6months and made improvements to the space contingent on being their for a while. The building is now being sold and the landlord is saying they have no plans of "buying out the lease". We do not have funds to move to a new location so quickly. What are our rights? We are about 2 weeks behind in rent ( does that affect the lease agreement if no where on the lease does it state that)?
The new owners intend to fully use the building for their business forcing us to move. With a brand new business funds are not even available to do that after we just put money into this building to make it useable for our business contingent upon the 5 year lease.
Contracts / Agreements Lawyer
I am a PA lawyer, not license to practice in FL, so my answer is based upon experience in dealing with commercial leases, both as a tenant and as counsel to landlords. I think you are basically stuck with whatever your lease provides in the event of a change of ownership of leased premises, unless there is FL statutory or common law to the contrary. And, assuming your lease provides no "grace period" for lateness on payment of the rent, then being two weeks late is a breach. Have you spoken to the new owners? It's probably worth trying to work something out with them directly.
The new owner takes the property subject to the leasehold interest created by your lease. You do not have to leave the premises due to the sale.
The term "buying" out the lease means the landlord pays you to leave early. So, if you want to stay, you can. Provided you pay the rent. Which, when you consider you moved in a relatively short period of time and want to have continuity in your business, you should do immediately.
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Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
First review your lease carefully to determine if the landlord retained any right to either terminate your lease early or otherwise buy out your interests. Whatever rights your existing landlord has under the lease would likely transfer to the new property owner. If your lease does not contain any such rights, then the only way the landlord (new owner) could force you to leave would be if you breached the lease and as a result they seek to evict you. If you don't pay your rent you may create such a breach. Be careful. Consult with a lawyer to review your lease and advise what are your rights under lease and what you should and should not do to preserve them in this situation.
Consider having an attorney review your lease to determine if you have the right to enforce the full term of the lease. Contact me at dennis @ chenlaw.net if you would like me to review the lease for you.
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You need a lawyer that does commercial litigation to review your lease. Unless it gives the landlord the right to terminate your lease early, the buyer will take the property subject to your lease.
There might also be a case against the new buyer for unjust enrichment if your improvements increased the value of the property to the new owner.
Of course, your lease can be terminated for the failure to pay rent.
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