Commercial Lease Disputes in Oklahoma

Commercial lease agreements and commercial leasing arrangements tend to generate costly and time-consuming disputes and litigation. Commercial leases dictate the terms and conditions under which businesses rent commercial spaces from the property owners, and should carefully define the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants in all possible scenarios.

Lease agreements – especially commercial leases – are custom contracts with highly variable terms. The specifics of each case may lead to different outcomes.

Here are some of the most common commercial lease dispute types we see in Oklahoma:

Nonpayment of Rent

One of the most common commercial lease disputes revolves around nonpayment of regular rent. This occurs when a tenant fails to meet their financial obligations by not paying rent on time or in full, whether the arrangement is for weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual rent. Landlords often must force the issue to recover the back-owed rent and, if necessary, to terminate the lease agreement. The outcome of these disputes can vary significantly, depending on the circumstances, lease terms, and relevant issues between the parties.

This issue often leads to a commercial eviction action if the tenant is unwilling or unable to pay. See our helpful commercial eviction guide to learn more.

Nonpayment of Triple Net Lease Financial Obligations

Triple net leases are very common in commercial real estate, where tenants not only pay rent but also bear additional financial obligations such as property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Disputes arise if tenants fail to fulfill each of these obligations as required in the lease agreement. Landlords often try to recover the unpaid amounts and enforce the lease terms. If the tenant is not satisfying the lease obligations under any form of lease, commercial landlords also commonly have the right to step in and pay for property taxes, insurance premiums, and maintenance costs and charge those costs back to the tenant.

Unapproved Additions, Changes, or Improvements to the Property

Commercial lease agreements typically contain clauses that govern tenant alterations or improvements to the leased space. Disputes can arise when tenants make additions or changes to the property without getting proper approvals from the landlord. Many of these disputes center around the issue of what items constitute a fixture vs. removable trade equipment at the end of the lease term.

Closing for Business Without Permission

Closing a business without obtaining prior permission from the landlord can lead to disputes under some leases. This occurs primarily in lease arrangements where a tenant’s rent obligations are tied to the business’ performance (via sales, revenue, etc.).


Tenant abandonment occurs when a tenant vacates the leased premises without notice to the landlord or in violation of the lease terms, such as leaving before the lease duration has concluded. This can lead to disputes over unpaid rent and the condition of the property upon the tenant’s departure. Landlords may initiate legal proceedings to recover unpaid rent and assess damages to the property.

Failure to Maintain the Property

Commercial lease agreements often require tenants to maintain the leased property in a specific condition, either under a triple net lease arrangement or other unique terms related to the specific leased premises. Disputes arise when tenants neglect their maintenance responsibilities, leading to property deterioration. The outcome in these cases may hinge on the lease terms and the extent of property damage.

Harming or Obstructing Other Tenants

In a multi-tenant commercial building, disputes frequently arise when one tenant’s actions harm other tenants or interfere with their businesses. These disputes regularly lead to legal action to address the issue, enforce lease terms, and ensure a harmonious environment for all occupants. Sometimes, an otherwise excellent tenant will be forced to breach their lease agreement because of the actions of another harmful or obstructive tenant.

Lease Termination Disputes

A final example of frequent commercial lease disputes is over the issue of commercial lease termination. Because each scenario is different and the facts and circumstances have a tangible impact on the performance and interpretation of each lease agreement, a party’s termination may be completely appropriate or a violation of the lease terms; these cases are highly fact intensive.

Get an Oklahoma commercial real estate attorney you can trust.

Lease disputes are a reality of the commercial real estate world. It is essential for both landlords and tenants to understand the nuances of their lease agreements and be prepared to address disputes that may arise. Commercial lease agreements are highly variable, and the outcomes of disputes, whether pre-litigation or within litigation, can vary significantly based on the specific details of each case. Get experienced and trusted commercial real estate legal counsel before a dispute arises. Contact the attorneys of Avenue Legal Group for help with your commercial lease dispute.

Other Helpful Information:

Have a different type of property-based dispute? See our helpful information on other types of real estate disputes in Oklahoma here.



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