If you’re a landlord, a commercial property owner, or a commercial tenant, then you know there are a host of risks to manage. From environmental hazards to accidents, these risks can have potentially devastating effects on you and your business.

But with a bit of planning and attention you can mitigate some of the most common risks associated with renting your property. Here are five things you can do to avoid lawsuits.

  1. Keep Walking Spaces Safe. Many lawsuits occur due to a slip or fall incident on a walkway. You can minimize the risk of someone falling by repairing or replacing uneven sidewalks, installing handrails, installing motion activated lighting, and using commercial grade floor mats at entry ways. And remember that walking spaces include sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, entryways, walkways and staircases. Don’t risk your business by overlooking any one of these.
  1. Install Hard Wired Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.? It’s not uncommon for residents to disable or neglect smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Unfortunately, when a fire occurs the property owner is often blamed for the lack of smoke detectors. Hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will help reduce this risk.
  1. Clear Snow and Ice.? Winter weather is one of the biggest culprits in fall down accidents. Avoid this by clearing areas thoroughly and immediately. Once it is cleared make sure you have someone throwing down salt once or twice daily until there is no more melting and refreezing. If you hire a snow removal contractor, make sure you have a written contract with an adequate site plan for removing snow whether it’s a light dusting or a blizzard, and be sure that the contractor has adequate insurance.
  1. Maintain Appropriate Insurance. While insurance can’t prevent a lawsuit it can certainly mitigate the effects of one. A liability insurance policy will cover most claims of negligence against you and your company. Not only will you be covered up to the amount of your insurance limits, it will also cover the cost of an investigation and an attorney to defend you if there is a lawsuit. Meet with your insurance broker and make sure you have the proper insurance and appropriate limits. You also want to make sure your commercial tenants are required to name you on their insurance policy, and that they agree to defend and indemnify you for any claims arising out of the tenant?s business.
  1. Pay a Lawyer to Review Your Contracts and Leases. If you just use a form contract or lease you are not getting the fullest protection possible. That form you found on the Internet is guaranteed to have both unenforceable provisions and provisions that don?t protect your interests.

Be proactive about mitigating risks and not only will your business be protected but your tenants will be a lot happier about the safe space you’ve provided.

Contact us if they you need?help buying or selling commercial real estate, buying or selling a business, negotiating a contract, negotiating a lease or reviewing existing contracts and leases for enforceability and legal compliance.