In New York there are many property owners, but there are many more people who are renting from these property owners. This includes both people who are renting apartments or other types of homes and businesses who rent space to run their business. The purposes for renting vary drastically between a business owner and a person renting an apartment to use as their home.

As such, there are a number of differences between residential and commercial leases. One of the biggest is that commercial tenants’ rights are almost entirely contained in the terms of the lease. So, if a protection is not contained in the lease, the commercial tenant is usually not entitled to that right. Residential tenants have a number of rights guaranteed by law, such as the right to habitability, meaning the landlord has a duty to keep things livable. Commercial landlords must keep buildings up to code, but other repairs are left to the tenant.

Another right that residential tenants have is that if the tenant leaves a lease early the landlord has a duty to mitigate by finding a new tenant, while there is no duty to mitigate for commercial leases. Also, there are rent control laws for residential leases, while there is no such protection for commercial tenants, meaning rent is entirely a negotiation between the landlord and tenant. Also, there is no obligation to offer lease renewals.

While residential tenants have more protections than commercial tenants, it does not mean that a commercial tenant does not have any rights. If the terms of a lease are broken, a commercial tenant may still have a landlord-tenant dispute and be able to receive compensation for the damages from a landlord. However, it is much more imperative that a commercial tenant negotiates favorable lease terms prior to signing the lease to protect themselves.

Source:, “Commercial Leases: Legal Strategies for Tough Times … or Any Time,” accessed Dec. 12, 2017

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