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How the letter of intent plays into a commercial lease

When renting property here in Orange County, you may begin the process by signing a letter of intent. This document outlines the basic terms between you and the property owner. You may want to make sure you thoroughly read and understand this document, because it could have implications for your commercial lease.

Most landlords consider the letter of intent the opening gambit in lease negotiations. Meanwhile, you may not think of this letter in the same way and believe that you can negotiate later to change its contents. Once the letter is signed, the landlord may not be willing to change any of its terms. Therefore, you may want to reconsider signing it until you are also satisfied with its terms.

One provision you may want to make sure ends up in your letter of intent is the right to the exclusive use of the space. For instance, you would not want the property owner renting out another portion of the space to the same type of business you intend to run. That would present you with unnecessary competition. Since the terms in the letter of intent could become the terms of your lease, negotiating an exclusivity clause at this point could be crucial to the success of your business.

As you can see, when it comes to negotiating a commercial lease, you may want to start with the letter of intent. The contents of this document represent more than a loose agreement between you and the property owner. It may be in your best interests to discuss its contents with an Orange County commercial real estate attorney to help ensure that you receive the best terms possible before signing the letter of intent.

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