Strang Scott represents landlords and tenants in all facets of commercial real estate leasing. While the goal is to complete every commercial transaction as smoothly as possible, it is important to be cognizant of the issues that may arise later so as not to ignore critical details in any transaction. From the onset of each commercial leasing transaction, we assist our clients in conducting the necessary due diligence about the property, the parties involved and the potential use of the space. Once the preliminary due diligence is complete, we prepare and negotiate letters of intent and specific commercial lease provisions tailored to meet the needs of the particular client and property. Throughout the duration of the lease, we advise our clients regarding their rights under the lease and the law.
Sometimes, even with the best commercial lease, litigation becomes necessary. While many traditional “transactional” attorneys have only an academic understanding of the potential pitfalls in litigation, as litigation and transactional attorneys, we understand the critical details involved in each transaction and those details that are vital to successfully litigating our clients’ claims. Often, litigation in connection with a commercial lease involves the eviction of a tenant or a lawsuit based upon a tenant’s material violations of the lease. Given the value of commercial property in Massachusetts, it is critical to engage attorneys that litigate these claims efficiently and effectively to preserve or recover the most value for the client in any matter. In order to do so, we encourage our clients to contact us at the inception of any potential dispute in order to best protect our clients’ interests.
As attorneys for landlords of all sizes, we advise our clients on various management issues including eviction assessments, the handling of security deposits, standardizing effective complaint and repair systems, setting up reliable record-keeping and evidence assembly procedures (in the event a case must be brought or defended in court), and eviction actions. Massachusetts law favors the tenant heavily. As a result, it is critical for a landlord to engage sound legal counsel in order to protect their interests through effective contracts and record keeping. Massachusetts has complicated laws regarding tenants’ security deposits, and failure to adhere to those laws can lead to stiff penalties for landlords. Further, the eviction process has strict deadlines and procedural requirements that are necessary to follow in order to ensure an efficient eviction, such as delivering the proper notice-to-quit in order to formally start the eviction process.
Upon receiving a call from a client in need of an eviction, our attorneys meet with the client to establish all of the facts, evaluate tenant damage and work with bonded constables to serve the eviction papers and secure the earliest possible trial date. By preparing beforehand, and retaining legal counsel familiar with evictions, a landlord is far more likely to secure an efficient eviction of a tenant, regardless of whether the basis is nonpayment of rent, other lease breaches, or refusal to vacate after a lease has ended. Our landlord/tenant attorneys are also experienced in negotiating with tenants and tenants’ attorneys in order to avoid the cost of an eviction trial, particularly when the tenant has no legal grounds to stay in the premises.
Property Management Advising
Strang Scott represents property management companies with portfolios ranging from a few localized units to thousands of units nationwide. As such, our attorneys have vast experience in the legal pitfalls associated with property management, as well as how property management companies functionally operate. When many property managers think of property management attorneys, they often consider the landlord/tenant eviction aspect of property management. While that is an important aspect of property management, there are many more facets of property management that, if not handled correctly, can lead to severe legal and financial implications.
Our property management advising practice can be broken into two main categories: preliminary planning and litigation. At the preliminary planning stage, we assist our property management clients in the due diligence process prior to acquiring a property or portfolio. Often, this includes negotiating financing terms with lenders and/or investors. Once a framework exists, we prepare and negotiate letters of intent, offers-to-purchase and purchase agreements. For clients with existing rental units, we assist in the creation of systems and processes for reviewing prospective tenants, draft leases and other leasing documents and provide guidance to navigate the onerous eviction process.
Litigation is costly. As a result, the primary goal in representing a property management company should be creating effective risk-management processes. Unfortunately, even the most well-prepared property management companies are forced into litigation occasionally. We represent property management clients in preparing and serving the appropriate eviction documents, in eviction suits and general civil suits. Like other companies, property management companies occasionally have disputes with outside vendors (e.g. maintenance providers, inspectors and contractors). When a dispute with an outside vendor cannot be resolved by agreement, litigation is often the best or only choice in resolving the matter.