Business Lease Agreements: Call Us Before You Sign
The lease of your business premises is one of the most significant financial commitments you will make. You’re on the hook for a lot of money for 3, 5 or even 10 years. If your lease hasn’t been carefully drafted, there is a risk of misunderstanding all rights, responsibilities and obligations as well as the real financial commitment.
Commercial leases are complex documents and should be thoroughly reviewed by your lawyer before signing.
Many tenants simply look at the rental payment and terms and then sign the landlord’s standard lease without considering that it has been drafted in the landlord’s favour. The landlord typically does not include provisions for your protection.
You should understand that you have the right to negotiate any of the lease terms and add clauses for your protection. The landlord may or may not agree but there is a good chance, with proper negotiation, that you can gain some concessions.
Some of the more common sections of business lease agreements that can cause misunderstanding are:
Additional Rent or Common Area Maintenance
Do you really understand all of the costs involved in the lease? Do you know how these costs will be calculated?
The landlord wants protection against possible events but are you covered? If not, your financial exposure may be much higher than you expected.
What happens when the lease term is up? Have you negotiated any provisions for and terms of renewal? If not, you may have limited options at the end of the initial term.
Can you assign the lease to another party should you decide to sell your business or relocate? If you have no right to assign the lease, your future plans may be in jeopardy.