If you own a business and are getting ready to enter into a commercial lease, you should not sign the lease until you have had a real estate lawyer look over the lease. Commercial leases are more complicated than residential leases; there are more to the terms than just how long you plan on being at the location.
Option to Renew
When setting up a commercial lease, your initial lease will generally be for a set period of time. This length of time can vary greatly. For a new small business, you may be offered leasing terms of a year or two. For a more established business, a building owner may be willing to offer a longer lease of more years.
No matter the length of the initial lease, you want to make sure the lease includes the option to renew. If a location works out well for you and for the building owner, with an option to renew, you can keep your current location and give the business owner and yourself the opportunity to negotiate new terms as well.
Gross or Net Lease
The next thing that you need to do is find out if the lease is a gross or net lease. With a gross lease, all of the costs that you have to pay are included in the upfront rent that you agree to. With a net lease, all of your expenses are not included in your rent. You may be responsible for other costs. For example, you may be expected to be responsible for certain maintenance tasks for the building. Or you may responsible for keeping up a certain common area or the landscaping.
If it is a net lease, make sure that the other things that you are responsible for are clearly defined. Also, make sure that you have an idea of how much these things will cost so you don't agree to a lease that you really can't afford.
A real estate attorney can make sure that the expenses for your rent are manageable for you.
Where an attorney can really help you out is with favorable clauses. There are a variety of clauses that can be added to your lease. For example, a clause could be added to your lease that allows you to terminate your lease if an anchor store that you depend on to get customers leaves the area. Or you can add a clause that the property owner will make certain improvements to the business before you occupy the building.
If you own a business, you are going to want to contact a real estate attorney or firm like Chesney & Nicholas LLP to help you with any commercial lease agreement that you enter into to make sure that the terms are favorable to you.