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Commercial Property Managers are not attorneys; however, our golden rule is to act in a fiduciary manner at all times. This obligates us to protect Property Owners and Associations, especially when agreements have been executed.

Many attorneys and realtors use old, existing “master templates” or boilerplate templates, which do not pay attention to the signature page. The signature page is as important as the content – and more important when it is contested. Legible, printed names are needed by the signature of every signing authority.

Below is an example:

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this Document as of this_____ day of month ______________ and year of ___________.

Tenant

1. Witness __________________________                                          By: __________________________

                             Print                                                                     Signature Managing Member #1

Witness __________________________

                     Signature

2. Witness __________________________                                          

                             Print                                                                     

Witness __________________________

                     Signature

 

1. Witness __________________________                                          By: __________________________

                             Print                                                                     Signature Managing Member #2

Witness __________________________

                     Signature

2. Witness __________________________                                          

                             Print                                                                     

 

Landlord

1. Witness __________________________                                          By: __________________________

                             Print                                                                       Signature Managing Member

Witness __________________________

                     Signature

2. Witness __________________________                                          

                             Print                                                                     

Witness __________________________

                     Signature

An attorney, Victor Diaz, who is knowledgeable in this area, writes that, in Florida, “a series of recent cases had made clear the need for attesting witnesses on leases.” Being part of a firm that reviews leases regularly, he notes that “a significant number of leases we review are legally unenforceable for lack of proper witnesses.”

In one case, for example, Skylake Insurance Agency, Inc. v. NMB Plaza, LLC, a tenant brought action against his landlord to enforce a lease. But he lost the case because of Florida’s land conveyance statute, which provides that “no estate of one year or more shall be made other than ‘in writing, signed in the presence of two subscribing witnesses.’”

In another case, S & I Investments v. Payless Flea Market, there was an issue of a renewed lease (rather than a new one) and the District Court (on appeal) held that, whether the lease is a new or renewal lease, two witnesses were required to make the lease valid and enforceable.

While we are not attorneys, and we suggest you always get the appropriate legal counsel when necessary, we are aware of the need for leases to have proper signature pages. Be sure that you always have proper witnesses, as well as legable printed names with signatures.

About the Author

Fairman & Associates Property & Facility Management
Steven Mitchell

Steven Mitchell, a Licensed Community Association Manager, joined Fairman & Associates, Inc. as a Property Manager in 2014. He has worked in construction management & property management industry for twenty years. He is currently managing Broward and Palm Beach portfolios and works closely with his Boards of Directors, property owners and tenants to ensure efficient management and maintenance of the properties.