Does my business need to update where to receive notice per my commercial lease if my office is shut down and we are all working remotely?
Unlike residential leases, parties to a commercial lease have the option of contracting around certain statutory requirements for legal notices under the law and the lease. As discussed in the seminal case of Culver Center Partners East # 1, L.P. v. Baja Fresh Westlake Village, Inc. (2010) 185 Cal.App.4th 744, this means that the notice provisions in the lease regarding where and how the tenant and the landlord should give notice control.
Notably, in many situations, actual receipt of a notice is not required for it to be effective as long as it strictly complies with the notice provision under the lease. Therefore, if you are working from home and unable to access your office, you may miss a crucial notice from a tenant or landlord and fail to timely respond. This can have adverse consequences under your lease. For example, failure to timely respond to a notice to cure a breach under the lease can result in penalties under the lease. As another example, failure to timely respond to a notice to pay rent can expose you to an eviction action. For commercial leases, this is especially undesirable as most commercial leases contain an attorney’s fee provision. As a further example, failure to timely and properly give notice to exercise an option can result in a waiver of that right.
In light of the same, it is very important to take a close look at your lease to make sure you understand how you can give notice and where you need to give notice. Once you do that, you should ensure that the notice address is a place where you will actually receive the notice so that you can timely respond. If it is not, you should further review the lease to determine how you can change your address for purposes of notice under the lease.
Of course, right now during the Coronavirus a landlord may have difficult evicting a commercial tenant, but better to play it safe and at least know what is coming.
Schorr Law has experience with all types of commercial leasing disputes, including disputes related to notice given under a lease. To schedule a 30-minute consultation regarding your matter, please contact us by phone, email, or send us a message through our contact form.