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Commercial Law Landlord Tenant Law

Commercial Leases and the Law of Electronic Transactions

Over the past 20 years, the rise of email as a generally-accepted medium of business communication has prompted the law to allow certain contracts, including leases, to be entered into electronically, without a handwritten signature. This article addresses recent developments and the present state of the law with respect to commercial leasing and electronic media.

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Most commercial leases are forged by a deliberate, organic process that includes face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and written correspondence between the landlord, the tenant and their respective agents, culminating in a written contract that historically was required to be signed by hand by both parties. Over the past 20 years, the rise of email as a generally-accepted medium of business communication has prompted the law to allow certain contracts, including leases, to be entered into electronically, without a handwritten signature. Progress has been made in this respect, both by statute and the common law; however, tweaking a centuries-old legal axiom takes time. This article addresses recent developments and the present state of the law with respect to commercial leasing and electronic media.

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