The business lawyers at Atkinson, Conway & Gagnon know that, when leasing out an office, industrial or warehouse property, there are some simple things you can do to protect against problems down the road. One thing you should be sure to do is resist the temptation to just pick up a commercial lease form you happen to have lying around and use it for your deal. You need to go through that lease form in detail to make sure it’s a suitable document. Better yet, you should have your lawyer go through that lease form to make sure it's put together correctly.
To illustrate my point, I give you the case of Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger of the Gamma Quadrant, from the Pixar movie Toy Story. (Stay with me here because I promise it all ties together in the end.) As you will recall, the flashy Mr. Lightyear burst upon the scene in Andy’s room operating under the notion that he actually was a real Space Ranger. No matter how hard Woody tried to convince Buzz otherwise, Buzz just did not accept that he was merely a toy, a child’s plaything.
That is, until Buzz fell into the hands of the neighboring family. The evil Sid wanted to blast Buzz to bits, and Sid’s little sister Hannah dressed Buzz up in doll clothes to participate in a pretend tea party. Buzz’s whole world was turned inside out when he found himself as “Mrs. Nesbitt” and seated at a little toy table next to a couple of headless dolls that Sid must have mutilated. As his delusion dissolved around him, Buzz moaned: “One minute you’re defending the whole galaxy, and, suddenly, you find yourself sucking down Darjeeling with Marie Antoinette . . . and her little sister.”
That lease form you happen to have kicking around is like Buzz Lightyear. While it might have the appearance of something of substance with the blinking lights and all, it may not actually be of any real use out there in the galaxy. For example, if the default clause in your lease is not written correctly, you could find yourself unable to collect lost future rentals from a defaulting tenant. Unless you have the right language in the lease, the termination of the tenant’s right to occupy the premises will terminate the tenant’s obligation to pay you rent. The Space Ranger default clause that you thought was protecting your interests may turn out to be nothing more than a meek Mrs. Nesbitt.
So tread carefully in using lease forms or other standard contracts. When crunch time comes and you want to collect what is owed, you don’t want to find yourself dressed in doll clothes and “sucking down Darjeeling” instead. (Hey, I promised it would tie together, but I didn’t say it would tie together real well.)
By the way, Disney has announced it is going to re-release both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3-D within the next couple of years. Information on Disney's announcement can be found here: Variety Article. (I imagine the comely Bo Peep will be quite fetching in 3-D.)