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Assignment provisions in commercial leases are heavily negotiated and very important to both landlords and tenants. When a tenant’s interest in a lease is assigned, the tenant is transferring its entire leasehold interest and 100% of the leased premises to a third party for the entire remaining term of the lease. For the tenant, the assignment provision represents a potential exit strategy, dependent of course on the local market, and increased flexibility for future needs. For the landlord, the assignment offers greater security for its revenue stream and hopefully the avoidance of a tenant bankruptcy or default while keeping its building occupied. The tenant’s desire for flexibility and the landlord’s need for control is where the negotiations are focused. This article presents a brief overview of the assignment provision in commercial leases, both office and retail, with particular attention on the laws of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The landlord’s standard for providing consent to a request to an assignment will be reviewed, and we will conclude by offering suggested language.
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