Commercial leases in District of Columbia are governed by common law. Business tenants are generally responsible for leasehold improvements, but the landlord has the right to approve the improvements and to secure a surety for lien purposes. It is usually up to the tenant to obtain a certificate of occupancy.
It is the landlord's responsibility to screen prospective tenants and determine their financial position and risk factors. The tenant is required to pay rent regardless of the condition of the premises and regardless of whether the landlord is fulfilled its obligations under the lease. The landlord must file suit to evict a tenant, and has the right to file suit immediately if the tenant defaults.
The most common form of business lease used in the Capitol region is a triple net lease.