For the second year running, our partner Mark D. Poniatowski has been recognized by SuperLawyers for his strong reputation in the Bay Area legal community as a Creditor/Debtor Rights lawyer.
We have been following a growing narrative in the commercial real estate press that the Covid-19 crisis will foster permanent changes in how companies organize and run their workforces.
Office Space Will Look Very Different Post-COVID-19 With Social Distancing
These rapidly changing needs are already having an impact on commercial real estate:
- Some employers have started discussions with landlords about downsizing their leases.
- Other may look for flexible office space rather than fixed square-footage long-term leases as they test how to operate under expanded work-from-home options.
- Coworking spaces will fall out of favor as companies forgo hot desks and communal spaces for more sanitary — and less dense — private areas.
Landlords have indicated that some are getting ahead of this looming problem by meeting now with all their tenants to assess their future needs. If you anticipate that companies will be downsizing by moving more workers into home-based offices, there are an upside and a downside to consider:
- The number of tenants seeking new, smaller spaces may present an opportunity to attract them with progressive space options.
- Current tenants may find their office space needs shrinking, which landlords will need to respond to, especially if they wish to keep good tenants.
- Paradoxically, even as more jobs “go remote,” the need for more space within an office will grow. As noted above, tenants will have to allow for more hygienic social interactions and work stations less crammed together. This will reduce the demand for economical but densely packed co-working spaces.
- In fact, tenants may find their current space will accommodate fewer employees with the new emphasis on social distancing and hygiene. And, sending workers home may be the best option just to keep their space needs constant.
“It had been proven prior to this, but a lot of company management and leaders showed great skepticism (about remote work productivity),” Steve King, partner at small-business consulting firm Emergent Research, told Recode. “That skepticism will go away because companies recognize that remote work does work.”
“I do think this is going to reshape the workplace,” Janet Pogue-McLaurin, principal and workplace leader at design and architecture firm Gensler, told Recode. “Social distance thinking may be part of our DNA moving forward.”
Commercial real estate companies are taking the lead in updating thinking about how to configure office space. Cushman & Wakefield is working on a “6 Feet Office” concept that considers all the aspect of office space, from wider corridors to workstations that allow a full six feet of separation.
Put our 30 years of experience with commercial real estate legal matters to work
As legal advisors to landlords our focus will be on how these accelerated trends get woven into the language of the lease agreements. We also advise regarding the conversations between tenant and landlord on how best to update current agreements to reflect this rapid change in office space needs. Contact us with your questions about this “new world” of office space.
Title to Co-Ownership of Real Property Put to the Test When Co-Owners Die or Become Incapacitated
We are seeing more and more cases where a co-owner of a jointly owned investment property retains us after the other co-owner dies or becomes incapacitated (as a result of Alzheimer’s or some other illness or accident).
- In the case of the death of the other co-owner, our client is usually now dealing with a successor trustee, executor or administrator of the estate.
- In the case of the incapacity of the other co-owner, our client is usually dealing with an agent under a power of attorney or a conservator.
In many cases, our client is surprised to learn that the vesting language in the deed to the property does not reflect the client’s understanding or intent regarding their ownership share. Continue reading
We represented a judgment lien creditor that sought priority of its attachment/judgment lien against the holder of a senior deed of trust in an interpleader action. This was to determine which party was entitled to nearly $300,000 in surplus funds after a trustee’s sale of commercial real property in Hayward, CA.
Hayward Commercial Real Estate Proceeds Subject to Creditor Dispute
After a 4-day bench trial in 2016 between these two competing secured creditors, the trial court entered judgment in favor our client, even though our client’s lien was recorded after the opposing party pension plan’s deed of trust. Continue reading
We have been asked for guidance by many of our small business clients regarding the classification of workers as either independent contractors or employees based on the new California law known as AB 5.
Defining Independent Contractor Status Under AB-5
There are certain labor law requirements triggered when a worker is considered an employee rather than an independent contractor. A full discussion of them is beyond the scope of this blog. But, as most employers know, the additional labor law and tax requirements applicable to employees, compared to independent contractors, are significant.
Now we have AB 5, which is a new law effective January 1, 2020. Continue reading
We are proud to be celebrating thirty years of serving as legal advisors to businesses and individuals in Alameda County and Northern California.
Thirty Years of Handling Client Legal Matters in Northern California
From the day we opened our doors in a small office in Castro Valley dedicated to business law and real estate law, our mission has been to provide prompt, quality, results oriented representation and practical advice to our clients. We are proud to have stayed true to this objective over these three busy, challenging decades. Continue reading
When negotiating a commercial lease, every clause in the agreement must be examined to see how it defines your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and the rights and responsibilities of the landlord. Here are some of the many common lease terms you should look for that corporate real estate tenants need to negotiate:
Clearly Defined Premises
Many leases do not clearly describe what you are renting. Your lease should clearly define your space, its size, and whether the size is on a rentable or usable basis. If your lease refers only to your usable space, get an explanation regarding the difference and include that language in the contract. Continue reading
Most business and real estate attorneys assume that the statute of limitations on an oral contract is two years, and on a written contract is 4 years. These are boilerplate assumptions that can trap a businessperson or a landlord; they do not always hold true once we delve into the specifics of a case. Continue reading
As we start work in 2019 in earnest, the commercial leasing market remains very active. We find ourselves representing a number of commercial landlords and tenants in connection with long-term commercial leases. One area in which we are adding great value is in the examination of “boilerplate language” within a proposed agreement that actually needs customization to protect our clients’ interests.
Great Commercial Lease Agreements Contain No Boilerplate
Most recently we represented a well-established auto body shop that sold its business to a national auto body and collision repair chain. As part of that transaction, the new owners leased the building that our client, the seller, owned to become the client’s tenant. Continue reading
We are often asked by credit managers in California if there are any additional credit approval criteria to consider when a proposed customer and credit applicant is an out-of-state (“foreign”) corporation. While each case is fact-specific, there are some general factors for credit managers to consider that uniquely apply to extending open account credit terms to foreign corporations doing business in California.