Don’t Negotiate Your Letter Of Intent Without An Attorney Review

Most of the time, tenants and their brokers negotiate and sign letters of intent for retail and office leases before they engage the services of a leasing attorney. That’s generally a bad idea…particularly if the landlord is a sophisticated landlord.

Read about many other commercial real estate leasing topics at my blog at
As both an experienced broker and an experienced leasing attorney, I sometimes fill both roles for my tenant clients. However, at other times, I serve as just the broker or just the leasing attorney. I sometimes deal with LOI’s that were done without attorney involvement by other brokers or tenants.

What larger, more sophisticated andlords sometimes do is to insert a lot of language into the LOI with respect to various provisions that are legal in nature and hurtful to the tenant’s positions. This is done on purpose. They know that the tenant’s leasing attorney would probably not accept that language. By inserting it into the LOI before the tenant’s leasing attorney gets involved in the process, however, they can sneak provisions and terms by unsuspecting brokers and tenants, and then argue that these concepts were already agreed to in the LOI and that the tenant (or its attorney) is being disingenuous by revisiting issues that both parties already agreed to.

It shouldn’t take a good leasing attorney more than an hour or two to review most LOI’s, and it is a good investment. I often see tenants stuck with provisions that could cost them tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars because they didn’t spend a few hundred extra dollars on having their attorney review the LOI.


About marylandcommercialleaseadvisor

I am a veteran negotiator that has done hundreds of retail, office and industrial leases throughout the United States. I have been a licensed Maryland attorney since 1985, and a licensed commercial real estate broker dating back to 1991. I have served as an expert witness in commercial real estate matters on multiple occasions, and have been a national instructor on real estate leasing issues, retail investments, and distressed commercial assets and REO's. From 1995-2004, I served as the head leasing attorney for the eastern United States for Glenborough Realty Trust, a $2.5 billion diversified REIT that was traded on the New York Stock Exchange. I offer a full spectrum of expert leasing services to landlords and tenants of all types. I am well trained in site location, and I can find the perfect location for a tenant. I can negotiate the business terms with the best of them, PLUS I am an accomplished leasing attorney that has negotiated against many of the best leasing attorneys in the nation. I have negotiated leases for/with companies such as Lord and Taylor, Circuit City, Starbuck's, Outback Steakhouse, Hometown Buffet, Popeye's, Chipotle, U.S. First National Credit Union, Merrill Lynch, New York Life, Bella Photography, Parsons-Brinckerhoff, Caterpillar, Fed Ex, Clear Channel Communications, and many other noted national and regional companies. I have also worked with scores of local regional tenants. I have also developed and leased out a shopping center, and have been a commercial tenant upon at least three occasions myself. I also spent four years as a commercial construction and permanent lender for a large bank. So, I understand real estate leasing from virtually all sides of the deal. That enables me to negotiate win-win deals for clients of all types. I am available as a broker, attorney, and/or consultant to landlords and tenants alike.
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