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Commercial Office and Retail Leases: Tenant and Landlord Considerations and Key Provisions in a Volatile Market

Permitted Use; Rights to Rent Abatement and Termination; Assignment; Remedies

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, October 19, 2023

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will prepare counsel for commercial tenants for leasing issues unique to office and retail leases and best practices to protect tenant interests, as well as provide insight into the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on landlord and tenant rights, obligations, and relationships. The panel will examine and compare office and retail leasing transactions and identify their key similarities and essential differences, with an overlay of how the pandemic's aftermath continues to bear on those transactions.


Office and retail leases are among the most common forms of commercial real estate transactions, and both require a broad understanding of lease law. Although there is a substantial overlap between office and retail leases, there are also many material differences. These differences can be subtle, and the concepts are unique and significant enough to warrant careful review and consideration by savvy counsel. Complicating an already nuanced subject matter are the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the migration of many office workers out of the office, which has distressed the commercial landlord/tenant market.

Key issues include permitted use provisions, rights to rent abatement and termination, force majeure provisions, assignment and subletting terms, default and remedy provisions, and tenant and landlord obligations concerning operating expenses, maintenance and repairs, services and access, and indemnity provisions. Careful and precise drafting of these provisions is critical to avoiding or resolving potential disputes and protecting clients' interests.

Listen as our authoritative panel of real estate practitioners provides crucial insights for counsel in drafting and negotiating office and retail leases.



  1. Overview
  2. Current state of the market
  3. Drafting rent relief lease amendments
  4. Rights to rent abatement and lease termination
  5. Letters of intent
  6. Credit and security under leases
  7. Tenant space planning considerations
  8. Build-out of leased premises, determination of commencement date, and work letters
  9. Use of premises, exclusive use and radius provisions, continuous operation and kick-out clauses, hours of operation
  10. Responsibility for real estate taxes and operating expenses/common area maintenance; operation expense exclusions and caps
  11. Tenant self-help rights
  12. Indemnity provisions
  13. Assignment and sublet provisions; SNDAs, permitted transfers, and estoppel certificates
  14. Real estate tax consideration
  15. Alterations
  16. Casualty and condemnation
  17. Final thoughts and practical considerations


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How have the after-effects of COVID-19 continued to influence retail and office leasing?
  • What type of rent relief structures are we seeing?
  • What are the specific areas of concern when drafting retail and office leases?
  • How much should a tenant negotiate an LOI?
  • What are some common tools to provide tenants with flexibility in meeting future space planning needs?
  • How can counsel best balance specificity and flexibility in classifying the tenant's business when negotiating exclusive rights?
  • What are typical operating expense exclusions?
  • What are the potential gross sales carve-outs when rent is based on the tenant's revenue?
  • What basic indemnity issues should tenants be aware of?
  • How should tenant and landlord obligations be defined concerning operating expenses, maintenance, and repairs?
  • What exit strategies should tenants consider upfront in a lease negotiation?


Freeman, F. Julian
Julian Freeman

Cox Castle & Nicholson

Mr. Freeman specializes in all aspects of commercial real estate. He is recognized within the real estate...  |  Read More

Korenaga, Corin
Corin M. Korenaga

Cox Castle & Nicholson

Mr. Korenaga’s practice is focused on acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, and merger and acquisition deals...  |  Read More

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