Every lease is unique, but there are some leases that contain more non-standard provisions than others. While most generic office leases are fairly similar, for example, leases in other fields may have less in common. These differences require an attorney with a specific knowledge of that field. Medical leasing is one of these highly divergent areas. There are a number of considerations unique to medical leases that, if ignored, will result in a lease that does not adequately provide for many of the situations that inevitably arise in medical real estate. For that reason, whether you are a prospective medical tenant or a prospective medical landlord, it is incredibly important to work with a lawyer who is skilled and experienced in navigating the nuances of medical leasing.
There are many provisions that are contained within every lease that are of greater importance to medical leases, and as such should be more closely scrutinized than usual. For example, a medical service provider likely sees a higher proportion of physically disabled occupants than your average tenant. Without provisions dealing with accessibility, it won’t be clear who is responsible for the costs of making the premises meet regulations either during buildout or in response to changes in the law. Many leases will have a provision relating to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but it is even more essential to ensure that these provisions are comprehensive and well-drafted when dealing with medical tenants.
A tenant’s privacy is always important. There is often a balance to this in leases, where a landlord or their agents have certain rights of access to a space for the purposes of inspection, cleaning, and making repairs. In medical leases, these rights need to be dealt with particularly carefully: while a landlord should still have some access, they should have limited or restricted access to areas with confidential information or to areas where patients are present during certain hours of the day. This is not only for ethical reasons, but to ensure compliance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires medical service providers to properly protect their patient’s protected information. HIPAA violations are not to be taken lightly: penalties can range from fines of anywhere between $50,000 and $1.5 million per violation to imprisonment.
This is another consideration that appears regularly in many kinds of leases, but is of particular importance in medical leases. Medical tenants often spend huge amounts of money on improvements to the premises. Because of this, it is vital to pay close attention to the drafting and negotiation of tenant improvements. Among other things, both parties will need to consider what can be built, who will pay for it, and what will happen to fixtures and other improvements at the end of the lease. Failing to answer these questions at the start of the leasing process will lead to considerable conflict later on.
One consideration that might not make it into a run-of-the-mill lease that is important to deal with in medical leasing is how the landlord and tenant address the disposal of medical waste. The parties need to ensure that these medical waste provisions don’t conflict with other provisions, and that the responsibilities within these provisions are correctly delegated. Typically, a medical tenant is responsible for medical waste disposal as they are much more likely than a nonmedical landlord to have the knowledge and skills required to properly and safely dispose of dangerous and biohazardous materials. Regardless of who is responsible, it is essential that a provision dealing with medical waste is contained within your lease, lest a conflict about this issue cause disagreement or danger.
We Can Help
Whether you are in the medical field and are looking for space to practice or you are considering leasing space to a medical service provider, there are unique issues and provisions to consider that will not be covered by a generic lease. Even more specific provisions will be needed depending on the tenant’s field of medicine. Bailey Law Firm has the knowledge and skill to ensure that your medical lease is specific and comprehensive enough to meet your own unique needs. To schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your leasing needs, please contact us by clicking here or by calling our office at 83