Disputes regarding commercial space and leases have the potential to be frustrating and expensive to resolve. In some cases, they could result in the termination of a lease or business closure.
As such, business owners must be cautious and utilize the advice of counsel when signing a lease agreement. Even if a space is right where you want it, and the rent is reasonable, there could be serious issues that result in costly legal battles. Consider, for instance, the following three zoning and land use complications.
- Zoning restrictions – In order to operate a commercial business, you must lease property that is appropriately zoned in accordance with the relevant municipal standards. Whether you rent space or land you plan to develop, understand that zoning laws specify permitted and prohibited uses. You should also be aware of whether the property is in an overlay district, which can impose additional restrictions or make special allowances.
- Limits on use – State laws may also restrict the use of land and buildings. Potential uses include recreation, public activities, industry, residence, agriculture, and others. In some cases, use is conditional or temporary, so it is important not to assume property may be used a certain way just because a prior party utilized the property in such a manner.
- Surrounding property issues – Surrounding property can affect a business, as well. For instance, zoning of the surrounding property could adversely affect everything from parking restrictions to building heights. Adjacent property zoning could create conflicts regarding waste disposal, noise and air traffic. There may also be easements, which could give neighboring property owners the right to use or enter your property without permission.
Business owners need not be experts in zoning and land use laws in Minnesota to sign a commercial lease, but that does not mean they are not subject to them.
Given the complexity of such laws and the issues that can arise, commercial tenants would be wise to seek legal counsel before signing a commercial lease. Spotting land use or zoning issues before signing any agreement can ultimately protect the future of a business and shield such businesses from costly mistakes.