Negotiating a Commercial Lease for Business Lessees

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Negotiating a Commercial Lease for Business Lessees

Commercial leases seldom follow a standard form and do not provide the same kind of protections as residential leases. While commercial leases are generally drafted in favor of the landlord, tenants may have the flexibility to negotiate more advantageous terms. Below is a summary of items that are often amenable to modification. These clauses should be reviewed carefully to ensure that the terms are understood and acceptable to the lessee. Duration of Lease. As a commercial tenant, the flexibility to terminate or extend a lease, or to renegotiate the lease term is critical. The term of a commercial lease can... READ MORE

On July 1, 2015, California implemented new insurance laws for drivers who are employed by ride-sharing services, Uber and Lyft. The stringent regulations are an attempt by the legislature to clearly distinguish when and whose insurance coverage takes effect during the time that workers are driving but not actively engaged in seeking rides or transporting passengers. The legislation followed a deadly car accident involving an Uber driver and centered upon a debate as to whether the driver was actually covered by the company’s insurance at the time of the accident. The parameters of the driver’s coverage raises the broader issue... READ MORE

When a purchaser acquires a business, assuming the contracts of that business is a major component of the transaction. A wide variety of contracts are utilized in a business to govern relationships and business transactions, including employment, contractor, service provider, customer, licensing and real estate contracts. Below is a review of key legal and practical considerations in assigning contracts in an acquisition. In general, the rights in any contract are freely transferable from one entity to another. However, there are a few notable exceptions to this rule. Where the assignment substantially alters the performance due or risks to the party... READ MORE

California recently enacted the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (UVTA), which introduces discrete modifications to the previous law governing fraudulent transfers, the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA). The UFTA provided that a “fraudulent transfer” occurred when a debtor transferred property to a third party with the objective of obstructing or defrauding a creditor, or did not receive equivalent value for that property if the debtor was insolvent. The UFTA furnished a legal means for voiding a fraudulent transfer and returning the property to the debtor or debtor’s estate. The current UVTA revisions accomplish the same goals and are designed to conform... READ MORE

In 2014, California passed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (the “Act”), which mandated the provision of paid sick leave for employees. On July 13, 2015, amendments to the Act (AB 304) took effect and were designed to clarify some of the ambiguities of the original legislation. The major modifications to the Act include the following: Amendments to rate of accrual. While the Act specified that paid sick leave should accrue at one hour per 30 hours worked, AB 304 gives employers flexibility to institute different accrual methods so long and the time is accrued on a regular... READ MORE

The purchase of an existing business requires a thorough examination of all the information related to that business entity. The goal of this process, known as “due diligence,” is to provide information about the legal and financial state of the business and to reveal potential risks that could impede the future transaction. A comprehensive due diligence review typically warrants the advice of various professionals, including accountants and attorneys, who guide purchasers in the following areas: Financial status. Financial documents, including balance sheets, audited financial statements, income statements, accounts payable and receivable, and tax returns for the past three years should... READ MORE

Non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements are routinely executed between employers and employees, particularly in emerging or highly competitive industries. The goal of the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is to ensure that employees or independent contractors who obtain proprietary knowledge during their relationship with the business do not use or disclose the information after the relationship has ceased. Similarly, in many states, a Non-Compete Agreement (NCA) restricts an employee from employment in the same field for a specified amount of time and within a certain distance from the former employer. In California, however, a 2008 Supreme Court decision found that NCAs are not... READ MORE

A sole proprietorship is the most common form of business structure. A sole proprietor fully owns and manages the daily operations of the business. He can sell the business at his or her sole discretion. In contrast to other business forms, a sole proprietorship is among the least cumbersome of business structures.  It has few compliance and regulatory obligations, minimal legal costs in the formation stage and very few formal maintenance obligations. Due to its low startup costs and bureaucratic simplicity, new owners of small businesses may be persuaded to start a sole proprietorship. However, there are several significant drawbacks... READ MORE

Most businesses are aware of the value of written employment agreements to establish the roles and responsibilities of employees and address the legal obligations of employees with respect to confidential information upon termination. Employee contracts are an important step in preventing employee-related disputes and should be reviewed periodically as employment relationships and employment conditions evolve. An equally important staple for both large and small businesses is creating and distributing employee handbooks. Although providing employee handbooks is not mandated by law in California, every business in California must have certain employee policies in writing. As such, it is generally accepted as... READ MORE

Under the Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program, also known as AB 1103 (AB 1103), any individual who finances, sells or leases a non-residential building in California of a designated size is required to disclose the building’s ENERGY STAR ratings to the opposing party and to report this information to the California Energy Commission (CEC). The purpose of the legislation is to promote greater efficiency in commercial buildings through enhanced disclosure requirements. The reporting of energy use in the affected structures takes into account the consumption of all types of energy, including electricity, natural gas and fuel oil. This program,... READ MORE