Property lease agreements with non-profits can be very simple, or very tricky, depending on the particular agreement made. Landlords sometimes only offer normal lease agreements to non-profits, while others may offer special exemptions or discounts in an attempt to take advantage of potential tax write-offs. While there are many lease arrangements to choose from, in the end the landlord has no obligation to offer anything out of the ordinary to a non-profit.
The first type of lease agreement many non-profits choose to use is a conventional lease. In this situation, the non-profit group is treated no differently than any other applicant and there are no benefits given to them for being a non-profit. In this situation the landlord's lease is the contract that must be honored, and these leases must fall within the legal parameters of a state's laws regarding rental agreements between a landlord and the group leasing.
Tax Benefit Leases
Some property managers may look for a tax write-off by offering space to a non-profit at a steep discount, or even for free in exchange for the non-profit taking care of building maintenance and utilities. In these situations the landlord or property manager can often take a tax deduction for what that space would have earned in rent, allowing them to save on taxes. Whenever these agreements are signed, the non-profit needs to carefully analyze what their responsibilities are as far as building maintenance, damages and other potential issues.
Non-profits have varying legal responsibilities based on the contract and lease agreement that was signed. While in general the landlord is responsible for keeping the building in livable condition and dealing with things such as leaking roofs, heat, and plumbing, the non-profit may be legally responsible for any injuries that occur in their rented space, especially if negligence is seen as the main cause. The non-profits will also most likely have the same responsibilities that an individual state deems as the responsibility of any renter. These vary from contract to contract and state to state, making it important to read every contract carefully.