Depending on your business, a commercial lease can be one of the most expensive contracts you enter into!
Commercial Leases, Commercial Landlord / Tenant Relations
Commercial landlords run the gamut from cheap and petty individuals, to professionally run corporations and management companies. Fortunately most landlords are very professional and care about their business tenants. The problem for you, the small business owner, is that you cannot distinguish from the good or bad landlord, until it’s too late and you’ve signed that commercial lease. And, unlike a residential lease, there are no laws protecting you from unscrupulous landlords or poorly written commercial leases. The commercial lease dictates everything and is controlling, and you may find it shocking what a few landlords will try to do.
Never sign a commercial lease without an experienced attorney backing you up. Some landlords may try to:
- Make you responsible for everything, including items outside your control (i.e. roof, foundation, HVAC and pipes);
- Get you to certify that everything is in working order, even though that 20-year-old HVAC is about to die for good;
- Cover up prior instances of black mold, only to have you and your business become responsible for expensive remediation; and
- Over-extend the leaky roof, only to have it fail, causing damage to your walls, inventory and equipment without recourse from the landlord.
A properly negotiated commercial lease will help protect you not only from unscrupulous behavior from a few bad landlords, but will also help protect your business from unforeseen circumstances.
Even if you’re using a commercial real estate brokers to help you, note that while most are very professional and helpful, they simply do not possess the skills or training (nor are they incentivized) to negotiate your lease effectively on your behalf. Beware of these and similar red-flag statements, “All leases are standard, and there is nothing to negotiate,” or “I know this landlord, and he or she is very trustworthy.” The former statement is simply false. There is no standard lease agreement (for commercial leases) and they are certainly up for negotiations. The latter statement may be true, but its not relevant to negotiating a fair commercial lease.
L4SB (or any qualified business attorney) can help you negotiate a fair commercial lease.
How to get started
Simply fill out the L4SB Engagement Agreement (Click the “Hire Us” tab underneath the map), and send back to us with your commercial lease (MS Word version, if possible).
Or, simply call us to get started!
Other relevant information
We deal with more commercial leases and unscrupulous commercial landlords (or property managers) than we care to mention. So much so, we’ve prepared a few articles you may find entertaining or instructive:
- Commercial Leases: Don’t Get Screwed! will give you some insight and background on unscrupulous landlords.
- Commercial Leases: Negotiating a Good Lease provides a (far from complete) laundry list of issues to look for in your commercial lease.
Law 4 Small Business (L4SB). A little law now can save a lot later.
Contact L4SB to …
… to help negotiate a fair and balanced commercial lease
Contact L4SB to …
… discuss, advise, review, create, improve and negotiate