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Choosing commercial leases requires understanding of zoning

Laws governing commercial zoning dictate what type of activities businesses can conduct in certain areas. They also determine the categories of businesses that may occupy particular areas. For this reason, paying attention to zoning is critical when looking for commercial leases in Los Angeles.

A couple of nuggets of information may be helpful for avoiding trouble with commercial zoning when looking for leasing opportunities. First, sometimes a brand-new zoning law is implemented, but a tenant who existed in a location prior to the law's implementation may still legally continue with the property's previous use. After this tenant vacates this property, any new occupant cannot continue the previous use, which is known as non-conformance.

In addition, sometimes a former tenant was given a special permit called a variance. This permit allowed the tenant to utilize the property outside the established zoning laws. Such a permit applies only to the particular business given the exception, not to any new tenants who take the business's place.

Not researching and understanding an area's zoning laws prior to entering into a commercial lease agreement is a major mistake that some business owners make. Another costly mistake that many business owners make when it comes to signing commercial leases is failing to read all of the fine print in the leases. An attorney can help a business owner in Los Angeles review a lease as well as negotiate one in a manner that will benefit the client and protect his or her legal rights long term in the Golden State.

Source:, "Commercial Zoning", Accessed on Dec. 27, 2017

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