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Potential Pitfalls of a Commercial Lease

If you are a small business owner, chances are good that you will need to lease commercial space at some point. Whether you need to find somewhere to house your office, a retail storefront or warehouse space for your products, understanding how commercial leases work and knowing about potential pitfalls ahead of time can help you avoid costly and time-consuming problems in the future. Understanding the Types of Commercial Leases In a commercial lease, you pay a certain amount of rent for each square foot of space.  There are two main types of commercial leases: gross leases and net leases. Gross Leases. A gross lease essentially means that the rent you pay per square foot includes all expenses, including real estate taxes, utilities, and maintenance. Net Leases. In a net lease, your rent amount per square foot is lower, but you’ll pay additionally for three categories of expenses: taxes, insurance, and common area maintenance (CAM) expenses.  There are different types of net leases, including single net leases, double net leases and triple net leases.  In a single net lease, the tenant is response for one of these categories of expenses, for example, taxes.  In a triple net lease, the tenant is responsible for all three categories of expenses: taxes, insurance and CAM fees. Spotting Potential Pitfalls No two commercial leases are the same and reviewing a commercial lease can be a challenging task for a prospective commercial tenant.  Additionally, there are fewer laws protecting consumers when it comes to commercial leases, as business owners are expected to be more savvy than individuals leasing residential properties.  By understanding key provisions and negotiating terms most favorable to the tenant, a commercial tenant is able to mitigate his or her risk and liability in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. Here are a

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Are Verbal Agreements and Contracts Valid in Florida?

Over the course of a single week, you likely enter into a wide variety of agreements and contracts. If you own a small business, you may negotiate agreements and contracts on a daily basis. Many of these agreements are probably verbally negotiated and sealed with nothing more than a handshake, which may not seem problematic until the other party fails to perform according to the terms of your agreement. When that happens, questions arise including are verbal agreements legally binding in the State of Florida?  And, can a verbal agreement or contract be enforced? Elements of a Contract To form a valid, legally binding, contract you need three elements: an offer; acceptance of that offer; and consideration.  The first two elements, offer and acceptance, are fairly self-explanatory. Imagine that you list your car for sale for $2,000 in a local newspaper. Your neighbor sees the advertisement and stops by to tell you that he wants to purchase the vehicle for the asking price of $2,000. Your initial advertisement is the offer and your neighbor’s statement that he wants to purchase the car for the asking price is the acceptance.  The third element, consideration, is a legal term that refers to something of value. For a contract to be formed, there must be consideration. In the example above, the $2,000 your neighbor pays for the car is the consideration required to complete the formation of a contract. When Do Offer, Acceptance, and Consideration Not Create a Valid Contract? There are some situations in which a legally binding contract is not created even when the required three elements are present. For instance, if one of the parties to the contract lacks the mental capacity to enter into a contract, the contract is not legally binding. John Knox Village of Tampa Bay, Inc. v.

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Independent Contractor Classification

The Legal Significance of an Independent Contractor Classification and the Potential Pitfalls of Misclassification Classifying any worker as an independent contractor is an important decision with serious legal consequences. The good news is that if your business is considering an independent contractor classification, many workers can and want to be lawfully classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee. In fact, an independent contractor classification may be the perfect “win-win” working relationship for your business and many of its workers.  Your business may not be in a position to assume the legal, tax and financial obligations that come along with an employment relationship.  Additionally, your business may have a specific need or position that can be filled with an independent contractor or your business may utilize a business model that works better with independent contractors rather than employees. Likewise, many workers prefer to be classified as an independent contractor for the independence, flexibility and freedom that a lawful independent contractor classification provides.  Technological advances, tax law changes, and a growing number of workers who enjoy being their own boss and working on multiple projects in today’s gig economy are additional reasons for considering independent contractor working relationships. Now for the legal reality! Arbitrarily throwing an independent contractor label on the working relationship, using a generic independent contractor agreement you found online or drafting one yourself can get you in legal hot water.  Even if the worker wants to be classified as an independent contractor and your company and the worker sign an independent contractor agreement, the legal reality is that there are numerous legal requirements, tests, regulations and variations, many of which are state-specific, that must be considered and evaluated to determine if the worker can be “lawfully” classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee. The potential

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The Benefits of a Legal Checkup

Benjamin Franklin first uttered his famous quote that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” in 1735. His belief that preventing a problem now is much easier than being forced to resolve it later is just as applicable today as it was over 280 years ago. This concept is especially relevant to many of the legal issues facing individuals and small businesses in today’s society as the costs associated with resolving a problem through litigation continue to increase. It is a commonly known fact that civil lawsuits are expensive and that the only winners are the lawyers. Regardless of whether you are a plaintiff or defendant in a civil lawsuit, attorneys’ fees alone can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and unfortunately, representing yourself is not a viable option in most cases. These costs can be financially devastating to most individuals and small businesses because in many cases attorneys’ fees cannot be recovered as damages even if you are the successful party in the lawsuit. What is even more frustrating is that many lawsuits could have been avoided if the parties would have consulted with an attorney before taking whatever action or inaction that led to the lawsuit. Unfortunately, once you are served with a lawsuit it is too late. Moreover, almost always this preventative legal advice would have cost a fraction of the legal fees incurred prosecuting or defending the lawsuit. This problem is the reason behind LegalStandard.comsm places emphasis on proactive legal care. Our goal is clear, we want to keep our clients out of the courtroom. The first step in keeping our clients out of the courtroom is getting to know our clients through our innovative Legal Checkup service. This service helps our clients, and us, to recognize potential legal issues before they

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