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Leases for Commercial Properties

It is very important to take every available precaution when making the decision to rent out commercial space, whether it is an office suite, a store in a shopping mall, or any other space in which the tenant intends to conduct business. Commercial property is an expensive investment on the part of the owner, and it is critical that the landlord's rights are protected.

Once signed, some commercial property owners need assistance in enforcing the lease if a tenant begins to violate its terms. In some cases, such as in an eviction, court action is required.

Washington Lawyer for Commercial Leases

Joyce Schwensen is an experienced attorney who assists the owners of commercial properties in Washington State with drafting and enforcing commercial leases. Commercial landlords can turn to Law Offices of Joyce S. Schwensen for assistance on any matter, from drafting proper terms to dealing with problem tenants. Joyce Schwensen has over 30 years of experience as a real estate lawyer, and is not afraid to take on some of the toughest issues. Call today at (206) 367-1065 to schedule a consultation to discuss your goals and how Joyce Schwensen can help you achieve them.

Law Offices of Joyce S. Schwensen represents clients throughout the Western Washington area, including Bellevue, Renton and anywhere else in King, Snohomish, Pierce and other counties.


King County Commercial Lease Information Center


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Drafting a Commercial Lease

Commercial leases can be very complex, and are often long term commitments on the part of both the lessor and the lessee. It is vital that a lease reflect that, and ensure that the landlord's interests are served.

A commercial lease should spell out exactly how a property may or may not be used by a tenant. It should also address the risk of a tenant business closing, include ample provision for security, and allow the landlord flexibility in the event of a possible sale or refinance of the property.

A commercial lease should also address tenant fixtures, leasehold improvements, and restrictions on the tenant’s ability to make changes to the premises without the landlord’s prior consent. Insurance, security, maintenance, hours of operation, sharing of utility and other common expenses, and many other matters must be properly addressed in a lease of commercial space.


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Evicting Commercial Tenants

When a commercial tenant refuses to follow the terms of a lease, including when they do not pay rent, they may be in unlawful detainer of the property under Revised Code of Washington 59.12.030. At that point, they may be served a notice of eviction.

While there are fewer protections for commercial tenants than for residential tenants, eviction remains a highly technical legal process that can take months. Whenever a tenant defaults on rent payment, it is usually advisable to begin eviction proceedings immediately. If the tenant is able to meet their responsibilities, the eviction process may be stopped. However, if a tenant fails to pay after some time, then that is time lost in the process.


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The Impact of Tenant Bankruptcy on Commercial Leases

Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a commercial tenant having financial problems to resort to filing for bankruptcy protection. This action will place an immediate stay on any eviction proceeding or other proceeding to collect rent, and on most other lease enforcement proceedings. But bankruptcy laws have particular technical provisions for dealing with on-going leases.

Joyce Schwensen is experienced in representing creditors in bankruptcy, particularly landlords. If you have a problem tenant, you need to know that the tenant’s bankruptcy is a real risk to you. Hiring a real estate attorney with bankruptcy experience is vital. Joyce Schwensen has been practicing real estate law in Washington State for over 30 years, and is knowledgeable about the interplay between bankruptcy law and commercial leases.

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