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3 ways landlords might try to exploit commercial tenants

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2024 | Commercial Real Estate |

Being a commercial tenant comes with its own set of challenges. Unfortunately, some landlords might exacerbate those challenges by attempting to exploit their tenants.

Business owners need to be aware of potential exploitation tactics to protect their interests. In particular, there are three blatant ways landlords might try to exploit commercial tenants.

1. Unreasonable rent increases

One common tactic landlords may use to exploit commercial tenants is imposing unreasonable rent increases. While some rent adjustments are natural over time due to inflation or changes in the market, landlords might exploit their position by raising rents excessively. These sudden spikes can put significant financial strain on businesses. This is especially true for small enterprises or startups with limited resources.

2. Neglecting property maintenance

Failure to address maintenance issues promptly can lead to deteriorating conditions within the leased space. This may eventually affect the tenant’s ability to conduct business effectively. Landlords who deliberately ignore maintenance requests or postpone essential repairs may be attempting to force tenants into accepting subpar conditions or even abandoning the premises.

Commercial tenants should document all communication regarding maintenance issues. This can help tenants assert their rights to a habitable and well-maintained space as outlined in their lease agreements.

3. Hidden fees and charges

Landlords may also attempt to exploit commercial tenants by imposing hidden fees and charges not initially disclosed in the lease agreement. These additional costs could include maintenance fees, utilities or even administrative fees. To avoid being on the wrong side of hidden fees, tenants should thoroughly review lease agreements and seek clarification on any ambiguous terms before signing.

In Massachusetts, commercial tenants have the same tenant rights as those living in residential spaces. If a landlord violates those rights, business owners have valid reason to pursue legal action.