In this day and age, it is extremely important to have legal counsel review your current residential/commercial lease.
Depending on where your property is located, there are more levels of governmental regulation that your lease has to comply with (i.e. city of Chicago).

Landlords & Tenants 

As a landlord, it is important to have a well-drafted lease that addresses any potential issue that may arise during the course of the tenancy.   At KSN, we are well versed in preparing our clients for any such event.

Dealing with these matters on a daily basis, we have noticed that tenants are becoming much more sophisticated. As a result, it is important that the lease complies with the current law. Depending on your jurisdiction, laws prohibit the awarding of attorney’s fees while requiring other clauses that inform a tenant of their rights. An example is any lease within the city of Chicago needs to include a copy of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance Summary (RLTO).

Provisions

One of the most important provisions in any lease is the notice requirement in the event of default. Default can occur when the tenant fails to pay its rent in accordance with the lease or when it fails to comply with any other provision of the lease. Often, a lease will provide that the landlord give notice for a longer date than what the law requires. However, in some instances, a lease may provide for the landlord to give notice for less time. If this is the case and this matter was brought to court, the case would be dismissed. Thus, it is extremely important to make sure that the notice of these lease requirements are current with the law.

Another provision that is important to have in a commercial lease is the waiver of a trial by jury. Although such a provision is unenforceable in a residential lease, Illinois courts tend to allow these for commercial evictions. Illinois courts strongly favor freedom of contract and will not declare a provision unenforceable unless it expressly contravenes the law or a known public policy of the state. Furthermore, Illinois courts find that a jury waiver provision is a commercially reasonable contract provision.

There are many reasons why it is imperative to have a jury waiver provision in a commercial lease. Foremost, jury trials are time-consuming and costly to the client. With a jury trial, there is significantly more work that has to be done which will increase the attorney’s fees.   Also, the tenant will be able to continue to occupy the premises for the duration of the legal proceedings. This could mean more months of not receiving any rent while incurring further legal bills.

Next, a jury may be more sympathetic to the tenants compared to the larger institution that owns the property. Judges are more familiar with the law, dealing with it on a daily basis, compared to jurors who may have their own prejudices that may factor into the verdict.

Conclusion

Although I have highlighted two important issues, there are many more issues that can be a source of problems between the landlord and the tenants. We can assist you with the allocation of utilities, assignment and subletting, guarantees, maintenance obligations, security deposits, and many more.

With many combined years of experience representing residential and commercial landlords of all sizes, our attorneys can review your lease to make sure it complies with State, county and municipal laws and contains necessary language to protect your interests. A timely and proper review of your lease is more likely to stand up in court if litigation ever arises.

By KSN Attorney Chad Souders