If you are about to sign your first commercial lease, you are probably excited and nervous, along with many other emotions. You are about to sink your time and money into a new business, a new location or a second location, and you are right to have doubts and hopes about how it will turn out. Undoubtedly, you have done your due diligence and taken every known precaution to improve the chances of a positive outcome, and you are eager to put your signature to paper and start.
However, one major entanglement may be right on the table in front of you. If you have not taken the time to read, examine and obtain a legal review of your commercial lease before you sign it, you may be taking on obligations you are not aware of or prepared to handle. Additionally, you may not realize that you can and often should negotiate some of the terms of the lease to ensure your landlord is not the one with all the advantages.
Business owners partnering with legal advocates
A commercial lease contains more than just the amount of rent and the length of your term. Often, the fine print outlines additional commitments, any of which may be up for discussion with your landlord. For example, will your rent include maintenance on common areas, parking spaces, security or landscaping? Can you renovate your unit? What are the penalties if you break the lease early? You may benefit from having an attorney look over your lease and assist you with some of the following elements:
- Helping you assess the space and its lease in light of your short- and long-term business goals
- Explaining the type of lease the landlord is offering you, and the benefits and disadvantages involved
- Defining any complex real estate terminology you may not understand
- Calculating the total financial commitment the lease requires
- Identifying any clauses that may impact the operation of your business
- Negotiating with your landlord for more favorable terms in your lease
There is no shame in seeking advice and counsel from an experienced professional who may even become an advocate and resource for the life of your business. In fact, many small business owners in your situation realize too late how much money and anxiety they may have saved if they had sought a review of their lease with an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional.