Most commercial leases contain a warrant of attorney provision, a powerful tool that allows the landlord to enter what is called a “confessed judgment” for money and/or possession against a defaulting tenant without first being obligated to incur the time, inconvenience, and, most of all, expense of a trial.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in all likelihood, many commercial leases will be amended or assigned in the coming months. Such commercial landlords should pay careful attention to the verbiage of any proposed amendment or assignment for many reasons.
Of particular importance is that, under Pennsylvania law, an amendment or assignment of a commercial lease through its mere execution extinguishes any warrant of attorney provision contained within that original commercial lease, meaning that the landlord can then only obtain a judgment for money or possession against a defaulting tenant through traditional means.
Since our courts in Pennsylvania have consistently held that a subsequent amendment or assignment of a commercial lease extinguishes a warrant of attorney provision from the original commercial lease unless it is “expressly incorporated” in the lease amendment or assignment, a landlord should retain the services of an attorney to draft a carefully worded lease amendment or assignment to preserve the landlord’s right to obtain judgment under the warrant of attorney provision in the event the tenant commits defaults under the terms and conditions of the commercial lease in the future.
If you are a commercial landlord who requires assistance in amending or assigning one of your leases, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and an attorney at Nochumson P.C. will immediately reach out to you to schedule a free consultation.