Any transactional lawyer in Tennessee has clients, whether landlords, tenants, or lenders, who require assistance in the evaluation, drafting, and negotiating of commercial leases. In this article we intend to emphasize a few of the unique leasing issues attorneys may face in Tennessee. We specifically do not address the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, which can be found in the Tennessee Code.
Most leasing lawyers have a variety of forms that they will use to create a first draft of the lease matching the letter of intent or notes from discussions with their client. The problem with these forms of leases is that they are often not updated to conform to changes in the law, custom, or practice. Or worse, at times these standard forms are negotiated forms and thus not a true "form" at all but one that includes pro-landlord or pro-tenant concessions. These concessions are often slight and therefore potentially not properly identified. Thus, the control of the initial draft can be crucially important to the client. Most landlords have a standard form lease, but in the event there is none, a tenant may have an opportunity to even the playing field, so to speak.
This article first appeared in the Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law, Volume 17, Fall 2015, Number 1.