What is that noise next door?

Blog Post
Recently, I was asked to negotiate a lease for space in an office building, which the landlord described in the lease as a “Trophy Class A high rise office building.” The space will be in a beautiful new office building with great views of the City of Chicago. However, the space is also on the same floor as and adjacent to the building’s HVAC equipment and mechanicals. It was important to our negotiation of the lease to know what building systems were on the floor. Protecting my client from excessive noise and vibrations related to such equipment was a big part of the negotiation of the lease. We had a sound engineer specify what levels of noise would be unacceptable, so that we could include clear parameters as to when the landlord must take action to mitigate excessive noise.

Another risk that tenants frequently encounter is that new tenants taking space adjacent to, or above or below, them will perform construction. It is important to have limitations in your lease as to when the landlord will permit construction in the building to be performed. You will not want to spend months being disturbed by neighboring tenants’ construction noise. I also represented a tenant in a build to suit building constructed adjacent to a busy highway where the tenant battled the landlord/builder for months after completion about the excessive highway noise. Our fight with the landlord would have been easier if the original lease had included specifications on how much noise from the nearby highway would be acceptable within the building.

Another area of concern is the landlord’s customary reservation of broad rights to make repairs, replacements, or improvements to the building. It is important to have limitations in your lease as to when the landlord will permit construction in the building to be performed and to include limitations on the landlord’s rights to enter the tenant’s space to make improvements to the building, especially those that do not directly benefit the tenant.

When you are negotiating a lease, it is important to consider issues that may arise from sources outside your space and to address then, when you have the most flexibility and leverage, i.e. prior to signing your lease and moving into your space.

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