This could be a tough topic to talk about, especially when we only refer to commercial tenant representation in today's Toronto real estate market. It's tough because I can't stop asking myself this question - is it possible to represent a tenant ethically in a commercial offer to lease? And what I mean by ethically is that as a Toronto Realtor it’s my duty to be completely transparent with my clients and advise them of what they could be potentially getting themselves into.
Commercial tenants are not protected like residential tenancies under the landlord and tenant act in Ontario, in fact there isn't even a commercial landlord and tenant act. In commercial tenancies the rule of thumb is that what the landlord and tenant agree upon is contractual and therefore enforced by the language used in the subject lease. In residential leases the opposite occurs, regardless of what the details of the lease state, the act supersedes all, unless it's a tenancy regarding a Toronto condo.
Commercial landlords are more than aware of this and are becoming more sophisticated in how they instruct their lawyers how to write their lease agreements. They are written in a manner that the tenant has no rights and incur every obligation possible imposed onto them from the landlord.
This is a problem that most Realtors have; being are aware of these contracts.
Explaining these obligations that a prospective tenant will have could defer the opportunity that the tenant has in the sense of operating its business in the right location. No matter how to choice to word it the prospective tenant is damned if they do or don't enter into a contractual agreement, if they do enter into a lease then the positive side is that they operating in the space and location that fits their needs, the downside is if they choose not to enter into an agreement they may not find another location as suitable and run the risk of operating in a much less desirable space with the same terms as being presented before. Again as I wrote earlier it's a no win situation for the tenant.
A good friend who is a solicitor said it best; a commercial landlord and tenant act is needed badly in Ontario to make the playing ground even. I am a commercial landlord and I have to agree with my friend’s statement.
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