Key Points: Financing Leasehold Interests in Real Estate
May 4, 2015
- Merely adding the word “leasehold” to your standard mortgage form does not create an effective leasehold mortgage.
- Scrutinize the underlying lease - often it is a ground lease. Does it:
- Allow the tenant to grant a leasehold mortgage?
- Have a term longer than the loan?
- If not, have extension options the lender may utilize?
- Have purchase options the lender may utilize?
- Have predictable rent?
- Check the title to the fee estate (landlord/owner) and not just the leasehold estate (tenant/mortgagor). Assure the lease or a memorandum has been recorded.
- If the landlord’s/owner’s interest is subject to a mortgage, obtain a non-disturbance agreement which specifically addresses the leasehold mortgage situation.
- The lease cannot be permitted to “disappear”! The lender must be able (under the lease or with the landlord’s agreement) to:
- receive notice of the tenant/borrower’s default;
- cure a tenant default and receive extra time to do so;
- obtain possession of the premises to cure; and
- receive a waiver of non-curable defaults (or a new lease).
- The potential responses to a bankruptcy filing by the tenant/borrower and by the landlord must be addressed - in the leasehold mortgage.
- Consider whether restrictive use provisions in the lease will diminish your collateral value (the lease) if you are forced to address a loan default.
- A leasehold mortgage can be enforced through foreclosure…but consider additional remedies: the granting of a new lease or the assignment of the lease to a new tenant. The lease should have a “no merger” clause.
- Address the lender’s right to enforce the lease, consent to amendments, receive insurance proceeds, and obtain possession.
- Do you really want to take on the complexity of mortgaging a sublease?