Picture this: you have negotiated a lease for a new office space for your business and need to get the lease signed so the landlord can start construction to get your space ready. At the same time, you are busy corralling your troops to meet an important project deadline. It is December 23 and the holidays are looming. The landlord calls you – he is balking at signing the lease until you write him a side letter acknowledging that you will pay the utilities during the free rent period at the beginning of the lease term. This obligation is inferred in the lease but the landlord has been burned by this situation before and he insists on the side letter. You stop what you are doing to write the letter, sign it, scan it, and email it to your partner who is already away visiting his grandchildren in Ohio. Lucky for you, he is at the house and his son has a printer. An hour later, the letter is sent to the landlord.
Thirty minutes later – it is 2:00 now and you are running out of time before your project deadline and Christmas Eve – another call comes in from the landlord. He asked you to submit two separate checks with the signed lease: one for the first month’s rent and another for the security deposit. An odd request, but you complied. You pick up the phone to hear him whine that he wants the security deposit check replaced because you didn’t write “security deposit” on the note line at the bottom and he is worried that if it doesn’t say “security deposit” at right there on the check it will be taxed as income. He won’t sign the lease until you do. It’s all you can do to keep from throwing the telephone out the window.
This last minute brouhaha really happened to me when my client – the tenant – was out of town. My blood pressure rose again just writing this blog! I solved both problems without aggravating my client. By the way, I told the landlord to call his accountant who assured him the check was OK and wouldn’t incur any income taxes.
Friends don’t let (busy) friends represent themselves in lease negotiations. Everyone should have a good tenant representation broker in their corner.