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Office lease considerations in a post-pandemic world

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

The pandemic changed all of our lives. It also had an impact on the way we do our jobs, including the legal trends and changes that impact our clients

One of the current practice areas that has been impacted is commercial office leasing. Current and prospective tenants’ needs and wants have changed. Even if this practice area is in your wheelhouse, some of the nuances may be less familiar. Fortunately, Practical Law has the resources you need to ensure you are up to speed.

Here are some answers to the most common office leasing legal questions.

To hear the latest on office lease issues and other current topics of interest, attend our webcast.

What is the role of the office in a post-pandemic climate?

COVID-19 has changed how we think of offices. During the pandemic, most companies successfully adapted to remote work without sacrificing productivity. This realization caused many companies to refocus the purpose of the office to become a central hub for collaboration and training. This, in turn, spurred many physical and operational changes. Tenants must address these matters in lease negotiations to ensure a smooth operation.

How has the pandemic changed office lease negotiations?

Prospective tenants are looking for increased flexibility in running their business operations so they can quickly respond to future health crises or other public emergencies. Tenants want the ability to easily adapt to new conditions such as modifying office layouts or installing supplemental air filtration systems.

Tenants’ needs have evolved. Some considerations that are most important to them now may include:

  • Flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing environment, including modifying office layouts, responding to government-mandated occupancy reductions and closures, and other health-related requirements.
  • Ability to alter the space, reduce or close operations, or sublease a portion of the premises.
  • Rent abatement or deferment when faced with government-mandated occupancy reductions or closures.
  • Landlords to adapt building infrastructure to tackle public health crises, including offering enhanced cleaning and sanitization of common areas, health screenings, and the ability to social distance in elevators and commons areas.

These are just a few of the issues that tenants should focus on during lease negotiations.

What are some of the impacted office lease provisions?

The pandemic has presented unique challenges to landlords and tenants. Many looked to their lease for guidance only to find typical provisions like force majeure did not extend to pandemics or other public health crises. Some of the impacted lease provisions include:

  • Operating expenses
  • Assignments and subletting
  • Force majeure
  • Alterations
  • Rent abatement clauses

Going forward, landlords and tenants should carefully negotiate several sections of their leases to better protect themselves against future public health crises.

Get up to speed on commercial office lease issues

Whether commercial office leasing is a practice area your firm has previously handled or you’re branching out to meet the needs of new and existing clients, having the most up-to-date resources is critical. With Practical Law, you can quickly find the answers you need and handle any matter that comes your way with confidence.

To learn more about office lease legal issues that more and more tenants are facing, attend our webcast, Office leasing considerations in a post-pandemic world.

This post was created with our Practical Law attorney-editors. As these issues are always evolving, the best way to stay updated is by letting our 300 full-time attorney-editors help you.

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