Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Tips for Negotiating a Commercial Lease

You've got your big idea, now you just need the space to execute it. And even in today's market of online retail, sales, and social media, the right brick and mortar office or storefront can make all the difference.

So how do you know which is the right spot for you? And more importantly, how do you make sure you're getting the best lease for the space? Here's a handy guide for negotiating a commercial lease:

1. Know Before You Go

Of course you have a vision for what your office or store will look like, but there are practical legal questions you need to ask and answer before you even start looking. These will help you keep an eye on renewal terms, maintenance costs, property taxes, and insurance requirements in the lease contract itself.

2. Comprehending Commercial Lease Codes

Just like certain cities have rent control and provisions for residential renters, some municipalities are enacting tougher protections for small business tenants. Making sure you know your rights as a commercial tenant will mean they're recognized and protected in the lease.

3. Nailing the Negotiation

When it comes time to haggle over the fine print in the lease, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be absolutely clear on what's covered under the lease;
  • Consider a longer term lease if the space fits;
  • Cap you expenses and fees over the term of the lease; and
  • Keep an eye on any deadlines imposed by the contract.

4. Always Be Amending

Just because the lease is signed, doesn't mean it has to stay set in stone forever. Circumstances can change for both your small business and your landlord, so be amenable to amending a commercial lease over time.

5. Time to Say Goodbye

If amending your lease doesn't work, or you just know it's time to move, there are ways to get out of a commercial lease. You may need to find a new tenant or pay a penalty for leaving early, but these could be better options than waiting out an unfavorable lease term.

A commercial lease may be the most important contract your small business signs, so don't go it alone. Talk to an experienced commercial attorney in your area today.

Related Resources: