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Texas landlord-tenant agreements help evade contract disputes

Business owners in Houston, Texas, know that for a new or expanding business, leasing a commercial space is a most cost-intensive task because contract disputes between landlords and tenants can have detrimental effects on a business's prospects. Therefore, it is important for business owners to have a foolproof landlord-tenant agreement, so that future disputes arising from tenancy agreements can be avoided.

The first and foremost point for negotiation is rent. Business owners must keep in mind that rent escalates with time. Therefore, the cost-increase factor must be considered before finalizing a lease agreement. To keep calculations simple, the Small Business Administration recommends that small businesses enter into one or two-year agreements with provisions for renewing the lease. One way of ensuring that a contract is failsafe is by engaging the services of a reputable real estate agent and lawyer, who can guide a business owner through the process.

A commercial space also has other expenses, such as maintenance charges and utilities. While in many cases, these expenses may be included in the rent and responsibility falls to the landlord, in others cases maintenance and repairs may be the tenant's. Irrespective of the situation, a business owner must be aware of those expenses and how they are calculated to identify any hidden costs, which may be the grounds for a contract dispute between the business owner and the tenant in the future.

To avoid future landlord-tenant contract disputes, a business owner must read the lease agreement carefully and if required, the business owner may seek professional help. Business owners must also consider certain options to make tenancy sustainable in the long run. Those options include clauses for subleasing which may provide an avenue for income, an exclusivity clause, which prevents the landlord from leasing other places on the property to a competing business and a co-tenancy clause in the event that an anchor tenant vacates the property.

Source: SBA.gov, "Leasing Commercial Space," accessed on March 5, 2015

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