Sherman Law LLP




Commercial Leasing & Property Management


We are a Kitchener law firm with over 40 years of firm expertise in the field of commercial leasing and property management servicing clients in Waterloo Region and surrounding areas. We offer guidance and practical assistance in most areas of commercial leasing law in Ontario. We act for landlords and tenants in the preparation and negotiation of a variety of commercial leases. We handle routine lease transactions, and we have the skills and experience to deal with more complex leasing matters.


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Let us put our real world knowledge to work for you.


At Sherman Law LLP, our competitive regional advantage lies in our real world knowledge and experience with commercial landlord and tenant remedies, and our extensive experience advising business owners and entrepreneurs. We are business-minded lawyers who move deals forward to get the deal closed. Our lawyers understand your objectives by working with you to achieve them, whether it is negotiating a lease, landlord representation, partnership and shareholder disputes, or lease defaults and rent collections. Through a practical application of our expertise, we will keep your needs and goals at center to our negotiations.


Our Kitchener commercial leasing and property management lawyers have over 40 years of firm experience assisting landlords and tenants in preparing and negotiating routine and complex commercial leases and related documentation for retail, office, industrial, and medical/dental premises. Our landlord clients include small business entrepreneurs, private property owners, corporations, property managers, and large asset managers. We assist landlords and tenants in connection with disputes and litigation relating to lease provisions and property management services. We provide practical legal advice on lease defaults, risk allocation, insolvency matters, and the interpretation of all aspects of leases, including in relation to maintenance and repair obligations, operating cost, and realty tax disputes.


Why should you have your offer to lease reviewed by a lawyer?


When leasing a property for your business, you may deal with a commercial realtor who represents a variety of properties, or directly with the owner or property manager. In these cases, you would benefit from having a lawyer review any offer to lease agreement or lease agreement prior to signing. The lease agreement will normally include such terms as the length of the lease, rental payments and common area charges. The lease also discloses the items that are the financial responsibility of the tenant and those that are to be paid by the landlord. Maintenance such as janitorial, landscaping, and snow removal are often in addition to the base rent. Other reasons why you may wish to have a lawyer review your offer to lease may include:

  • Exclusive use clauses
  • Leasehold improvements

  • Personal guarantee's

  • Assignment or sublet rights
  • Insurance issues
  • Parking issues
  • Access issues
  • Security issues

What is a gross lease?


A gross lease is a type of commercial lease where the tenant pays a base rental amount that includes all of the expenses of operating the premises in the monthly rental charge. The landlord pays for all property charges that are regularly incurred including taxes, utilities and water. A gross lease can be modified to meet the needs of the tenants. 


This type of lease can also be referred to as a full service gross lease where the landlord pays for all operating expenses related to the tenant's occupancy of the space such as common area maintenance, utilities, property insurance, and property taxes. 


What is a net lease?


A net lease is lease where a tenant pays one or more additional expenses. Various expenses of operating the premises are added by the landlord onto the base monthly rent including property taxes, property insurance premiums, or maintenance costs which are often referred to as common area maintenance (CAM), for a total net rent, and can vary depending on what additional charges are included or excluded from the basic rent. These types of leases are often used in commercial real estate. 


In a net lease, the landlord receives the rent "net" after the expenses that are to be passed through to the tenant. are paint. 




What are the different types of net leases?


 A single-net lease is a lease where the tenant is responsible for paying property taxes. 


A double-net lease is a lease where the tenant is responsible for paying property tax and building insurance. The landlord is often responsible for any expenses incurred for structural repairs and common area maintenance (CAM). 


A triple-net lease is a lease where the tenant agrees to pay for all of the real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance (the three "nets") of the property in additional to any fees that are expected under the lease including the base monthly rent and utilities. The tenant is also responsible for all costs associated with the repair and maintenance of any common area that are referred to as  common area maintenance (CAM). CAM fees are often negotiated up front as a set dollar figure per square foot. These additional charges can be considerable. This type of lease is most frequently used for commercial freestanding buildings.


Why are zoning and by-laws an important consideration?


Before purchasing or leasing commercial real estate you should always ensure that the property is zoned appropriately for your business and its needs. Commercial and industrial zoning restrictions can be stringent, so it's important to know what is and what is not permitted at the proposed premises. You also should review if the landlord has any restrictive covenants that would restrict your use or prohibit your from competing with another tenant in the complex.


Each province and municipality has its own rules, regulations and zoning by-laws. These by-laws govern how land may be used, where building and other structures can be situated, and the types of buildings that are permitted and how they may be used. Municipal by-laws also cover factors such as lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements, building heights, and setbacks, which are the minimum distance a building can be located from a property line. Municipalities typically zone properties and buildings by the nature of business activity allowed in the rented premises, such as office/professional, retail, industrial, or medical/dental.




Who is responsible for renovations or upgrades on leased premises?


When making leasehold improvements, you should check the terms of your lease to determine which party is responsible for renovations or upgrades to the leased premises. If you are not careful, renovating a newly leased commercial space can be a task full of complications, including unexpected costs that can overrun or delay your budget and disrupt operations. With the right approach, you can get your landlord on board and significantly reduce your costs. 


You should not be afraid to negotiate the best deal possible on a lease. If your lease is for more than one year, if you are the major tenant in a building, or if you are leasing a large amount of space, you can often negotiate with the landlord to get a better deal.  Sometimes you may be able to negotiate tenant inducements wherein the landlord contributes to some of the renovations or upgrades for the leased space. The landlord may offer to cover some of the costs of the renovations that is called a tenant improvement allowance, which is often a contribution per square foot on the rented space. The landlord may also offer several months of free rent or at a discounted rate to cover these costs. The landlord may also offer turnkey improvements or build-outs whereby the landlord will agree to manage and pay for the work that the tenant wants completed. 


Frequently, you are required to obtain the landlord's approval for leasehold improvements. Any fixtures or improvements that you add to the unit often become part of the rented premises and are usually considered the property of the landlord once the lease is terminated.


The landlord's willingness to offer any inducements often depends on a variety of factors including the eagerness to fill the space, the building's vacancy rate, the location and age of the building, and your value as a tenant. The lawyers at Sherman Law LLP have the experience to assist you with these negotiations so that you achieve favourable results. 






Understanding your business needs is our top priority.


Many of our lawyers have experience within the property management industry and have years of experience working directly with landlords.


We assist clients in achieving the best results possible, including commercial tenants who often retain Sherman Law LLP to review and assist them in the finalization of their leases and related documents. You will benefit from our real world business knowledge and industry experience combined with the entrepreneurial approach we apply to our clients’ projects.


Our team of Kitchener commercial leasing and property management lawyers can assist you in the following areas:


  • Commercial landlord and tenant negotiations and disputes

  • Retail leasing

  • Lease interpretation including advising on special rights, operating costs, realty tax issues, risk allocations, and maintenance and repair obligations

  • Lease defaults including rent collections, terminations and evictions

  • Lease disputes and litigation relating to lease provisions and property management issues

  • Representation at mediations, arbitrations, and providing neutral case evaluations

  • Property and asset management services





Do you want to learn more about commercial leasing and property management?


For over 40 years, clients have trusted in our ability to explain their rights and obligations with respect to commercial leasing and property management. We are confident that you will appreciate our professional and personalized service. We invite you to browse our website and read the positive things others have to say about us. To benefit from our knowledge and experience with respect to your commercial leasing and property management, please contact 519-884-0034 or send us an email. Many of our clients are referred to us by former and current clients, as well as by lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors. We serve clients in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and surrounding areas.




Connect with a lawyer in our firm with expertise in this area

Kenneth L. Sherman


Kenneth L. Sherman