Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Vaccines and Mitigation Measures

March 18, 2021 | By Karli Lubin, Esq.

Since the start of the pandemic, landlords and property managers have been working with tenants to create a safe and healthy environment for building occupants. As more and more people have access to the vaccine, more employees are returning to office buildings. While COVID-19 vaccines are encouraging for employers currently struggling to balance worker safety with a desire to return to the workplace, their slow rollout has prompted a number of complex concerns. Below are some of the most pressing questions landlords, property managers and tenants face on how to handle vaccinations in the workplace.

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How Leases Govern Common Area Modification

January 9, 2020| By Katherine M. Noonan, ESQ.

There are many reasons why a landlord may want to change building common areas. Existing common areas may be underutilized or economically unfeasible. A new law may be in effect that requires relocation of or modifications to restrooms or emergency access. The building owner may be looking to put a new plan for space and services in place to help attract desirable new tenants.

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The Interplay Between Tenant Possession and Landlord Control

September 6, 2019 | By James R. Walston, ESQ., and Naphtalie Librun-Ukiri.

What responsibilities do landlords have when a tenant’s employee is injured while operating equipment within the leased premises? Can a landlord avoid responsibility for injuries to that employee simply because the tenant has exclusive possession of the leased premises? A landlord’s liability for injuries occurring within a leased property depends on several factors: the status of the injured party, which includes invitees and trespassers; the condition of the leased premises; the activities of the landlord and those of the tenant and/or the tenant’s invitees; and the degree of landlord control of the leased premises.

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GSA's Simplified Leasing Forms Made Simple

February 7, 2019 | By David L. Winstead, ESQ.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and its Public Buildings Service have made great progress over the last five years in simplifying the federal government’s lease acquisition process and leasing actions. Given the scale of GSA leasing, which stands at 187.6 million square feet in 2018, there are many opportunities for building owners who can effectively use the process.

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What's In Your Warehouse? Leasing to the Marijuana Production Industry

November 14, 2018 | By Dina Bleckman and Sara McCormick, ESQ.

With medical marijuana use, recreational marijuana use or both now legal in nearly three dozen states in the United States, warehouse owners are seeing increasing demand from marijuana growers to lease space. These leasing arrangements can be incredibly lucrative—marijuana businesses are often willing to pay a premium for rents to operate—but, are the rewards worth the risk?

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Are Pets A Good Fit For Your Office Building

February 3, 2018 | By Katherine Noonan, ESQ.

Some office workers may find themselves sharing a cubicle with an unexpectedly furry coworker as pets increasingly make their way into office settings. Traditional office environments still generally prohibit pets, other than the long-standing exception for service animals. However, some tenants want their employees to have the option to bring Fido or Fluffy to the office. Pets have long been considered therapeutic, and some believe that allowing them in the workplace improves office morale, resulting in a healthier and more productive workforce. As employers compete for top talent by offering lavish amenities and other perks, allowing employees to bring their beloved dog or cat into the office with them can make a workplace more enticing. Likewise, offering pet-friendly tenant spaces can set a property apart in a competitive market.

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Going Green: Green Leasing Updates

June 21, 2018 | By Katherine M. Noonan, Esq.

BOMA International has published a model lease guide for more than 30 years. In 2005, BOMA revised the model lease form to address sustainability issues and the allocation of rights and obligations of parties regarding the same. As technological advances and approaches to sustainability issues have changed over time, BOMA International has updated the guide in 2008, 2011 and once again this past April in its latest version, Green Lease Guide: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants to Collaborate on Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Practices. Below are just a few of the key changes that appear in the new form.

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Documenting Common Areas in Office Leases

July 9, 2017 | By Katherine M. Noonan, Esq.

Much of the character and ambiance of an office building is derived from the property’s shared spaces. On a daily basis, tenants and guests could walk through an atrium, stand in an elevator lobby, sit in a plaza or gaze at the flowers on a rooftop deck. These are the common areas that set the tone for the day. When negotiating the terms of an office lease, it is common for landlords and tenants to focus their efforts primarily on rights and obligations related to the leased premises. However, the rights and obligations of both parties extend beyond the walls of the premises.

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Am I Liable for That?

November 11, 2017 | By Michelle M. McGeogh, ESQ., and Michael P. Cianfichi, ESQ.

Commercial property owners and managers juggle many important responsibilities each day. One of the most important of these responsibilities is providing a safe environment for tenants, customers and visitors. When properties are not properly maintained, accidents and injuries can occur that expose the building owner or property manager to lawsuits and liability. If repair and maintenance liability is not something you have considered recently, now is a good time to review best practices to minimize exposure to liability.

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Avoiding Common Leasing Pitfalls

April 6, 2020 | By Sonja Beddow, Esq.

Between issues with the substantive provisions of a lease and errors made in executing the final version, a lot of things can go wrong—even in a well-drafted and negotiated lease. Here are some common problems to avoid.

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Commercial Landlord Liability for Workplace Violence Control

December 12, 2019 | By Sara A. McCormick and Arwa Abdelmoula

The issue of premises security was met with heightened scrutiny in the wake of September 11, 2001, and has continued to grow in prominence in the wake of mass shootings across the United States. While terrorist attacks are relatively rare, workplace violence is not. In December of 2017, a fired law firm employee in Long Beach, California, killed one person and seriously injured another. Earlier this year, a disgruntled employee killed 12 co-workers and injured four in Virginia Beach. In fact, about two million people each year report workplace violence, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—and the real number is likely higher.

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Daycare Insurance Considerations for Building Owners

March 7, 2019 | By Meghan L. Flynn, ESQ.

Daycare businesses showed consistent growth through the Great Recession and will continue to have some of the fastest employment growth of all industries through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With this rate of growth, commercial building owners are likely to encounter a potential daycare center tenant at some point in the future. While there are many issues to consider in deciding whether a daycare center would be a successful tenant, key among those concerns for landlords is their potential liability.

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Short-Term Leases, Long-Term Successes

October 12, 2018 | By Katherine M. Noonan, ESQ.

Short-term office leases may never be as trendy as temporary pop-up restaurants on city street corners, but they increasingly are being considered by landlords and tenants in the context of office space.

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The Future of Website Accessibility

July 17, 2018 | By Olabisi Ladeji Okubadejo, Maraya N. Pratt and Michael W. Skojec, ESQ.

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides that no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of a disability in the "full and equal enjoyment" of goods and services of "any place of public accommodation." Recent accessibility litigation has focused on the precise definition of "public accommodation," and whether it encompasses virtual space in addition to physical locations. "Public accommodation," as defined by the statute, includes categories of private entities whose operations affect commerce (e.g., restaurants, places of entertainment, places of public gathering, sales establishments). Property professionals already make it a priority to ensure their buildings are accessible, but as the industry continues to become increasingly digital, do commercial real estate companies also need to consider accessibility as it relates to their websites?

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The Shape of Air: Development Potential Realized

March 22, 2018 | By Michael Pollack, ESQ.

Commercial property owners looking for the next big thing for their buildings may only have to look up. Building owners whose properties do not use all of the development (or "air") rights associated with their property may be able to sell these rights, capitalizing on their unused height potential.

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Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with Problem Tenants

April 5, 2017 | By Katherine M. Noonan, Esq.

While no commercial landlord wants a problem tenant—and most commercial tenants want to avoid problems, too—it's not unusual for issues to arise.

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