Ithaca, NY asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: What additional rights would parties to lease have that parties to contract to rent an office space don't?

I work with a group that rents an office in a building in NYC. The obligations of the org. and the building owner are established through a "letter of agreement on office space." It's all perfectly normal until the end, where it says, "This agreement does not constitute a lease." It sure READS like a lease? Since the owner wrote the agreement, I'm assuming there are rights the renting organization has given up by signing a lease that says it's not a lease, but I don't know what they'd be. Are there some 15th-century English common law rights to raise crops or some such, or are there instead some actual, meaningful rights that this group has given up by signing this letter or agreement that disavows being a lease.

2 Lawyer Answers
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: It is a lease. Landlords try to make documents into a license as if it is not a lease, but it is.

Barry Eran Janay agrees with this answer

  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Montclair, NJ
  • Licensed in New York

A: The other attorney is correct, in addition I'll point out that the difference between a commercial real estate lease and residential is huge. There is also a difference between licenses to occupy commercial real estate vs. a commercial lease. If you really need to know the difference between all of the above and how your rights may be affected you should schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney. Preferably one that took the time to read and answer your question in the first place ;)

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