If your land­lord pro­vides you with a lease, more than likely it will be one-sided. You often can cor­rect the imbal­ance by requir­ing rec­i­p­ro­cal pro­vi­sions. The fol­low­ing are the most com­mon types of clauses that should be reciprocal:

  • Indem­ni­fi­ca­tion. The land­lord typ­i­cally tries to push all risk and lia­bil­ity to the ten­ant. The ten­ant should push some of this risk and lia­bil­ity back to the landlord.
  • Force Majeure. The land­lord typ­i­cally tries to push the risks of unfore­seen events such as earth­quakes, fires, etc. to the ten­ant. The ten­ant should push back some of these risks to the landlord.
  • Haz­ardous Mate­ri­als. Require the land­lord to pro­vide you with an envi­ron­men­tal war­ranty promis­ing that the space isn’t con­t­a­m­i­nated. Also require the land­lord to defend and indem­nify you if the war­ranty is breached. Require the land­lord to pay cleanup costs. Ask for the right for rent abate­ment and the right to ter­mi­nate the lease if haz­ardous waste inter­rupts your busi­ness. You may also require envi­ron­men­tal insurance.
  • Insur­ance and Waivers of Sub­ro­ga­tion. The land­lord typ­i­cally tries to push their risk to the tenant’s insur­ance. The ten­ant should push these risks back onto the landlord’s insurance.
  • Waiver of Claims. The land­lord might try to require the ten­ant to waive claims against the land­lord with­out a rec­i­p­ro­cal waiver. If the land­lord wants waivers from the ten­ant, the ten­ant should ask for waivers from the landlord.
  • Default clause. Include a pro­vi­sion that spec­i­fies land­lord defaults such as the landlord’s fail­ure to pay for ten­ant improve­ments, the fail­ure to com­ply with the lease terms and oblig­a­tions, and any rep­re­sen­ta­tions and war­ranties that prove to be false.
  • Reme­dies. Include your reme­dies such as lost prof­its, relo­ca­tion expenses, attorney’s fees, puni­tive dam­ages, recis­sion for fail­ure to deliver, injunc­tions, spe­cific per­for­mance to per­form required act, and declara­tory judg­ment to declare who is right.
  • Dam­age and Destruc­tion. The land­lord often requires the ten­ant to pay for dam­age and destruc­tion the ten­ant causes with­out a rec­i­p­ro­cal respon­si­bil­ity. The ten­ant should require the land­lord to pay for dam­age and destruc­tion it causes.