As far as zoning is concerned, the tenants need to do their due diligence and independently ascertain that the location that they have selected to lease allows for the business that the tenant is carrying out. Tenants should try to negotiate into the lease agreement representations and warranties on the part of the landlord that the leased premises are zoned for the tenant’s intended business use. Landlords on the other hand, should include a provision that they make no warranties as to the zoning of the leased premises for the tenants intended use only when the landlord believe that the zoning for the lease premises may not permit the tenants intended use.
As far code violations, they should generally be handled in a similar manner as zoning issues referenced above with each party attempting to shift the burden of liability away from each other. However, with code violations, the tenant must thoroughly inspect the premises with a contractor to determine if there are any code violations. Real estate attorneys recommend to their tenant clients that they perform a lien search with a lien search company that includes, code violations and open permits before signing a lease agreement for the premises. The landlord also needs to take an extra precaution especially when a tenant is making improvements to the leased premises and require the tenant to indemnify the landlord from any costs and fees imposed by code violations caused by the tenant’s work on attempting to improve the premises. Again, the landlord should also incorporate into the lease agreement, the right to cure the code violations himself and assess the costs and fees associated with resolving the code violation on the tenant.
Ray Garcia, Esq.
Board Certified in Real Estate Law
by the Florida Bar