Signing a commercial lease is a lot more complex than a residential one. The first thing to keep in mind is that commercial leases are a lot longer than residential leases. In addition, you might be getting a bare-boned space and need to make improvements. As you review the lease, think about negotiations you need to make for things like renovations and security deposits. As you consider signing a lease for your business, don’t feel like you have to do it alone. Bowne Barry & Barry, a lawyer in East Brunswick NJ, has years of experience helping businesses negotiate leases. We will help you review various leases and guide you in determining which makes the most sense for your business. Read on to learn about 4 things you should consider before signing a lease for your office.
Length of Lease
The first thing to understand about signing a commercial lease is that the duration of the lease will be longer than a lease you would sign for a home or apartment. The typical length of a commercial lease is anywhere from 3-10 years. While this is the standard length, some commercial leases are month-to-month, while others could be as long as 30 years. What this means is that once you sign the lease, you are in it for the long run. This is why it is so important that you have carefully considered the terms of the lease and the space you are renting, because you don’t want to find your business stuck somewhere that isn’t working. Typically breaking a lease can be very costly, so this option should only be considered in worst case scenarios or emergencies.
Fully Understand Your Lease
As a business owner, it is so important that you fully understand your lease before you sign it. This is where we come in. At Bowne Barry & Barry, we can help you sort through all the legal jargon in the lease to make sure that everything is clear. There are many different types of commercial leases, so it is important to understand which one the landlord is using. One type of commercial lease is a net lease. This is where the tenant is responsible for rent and other items such as utilities, insurance, and maintenance expenses. Depending on the type of net lease, the responsibility for these extra expenses can shift from the tenant to the landlord.
Another type of commercial lease is a gross lease where the tenant is responsible for the monthly rental payment and the landlord covers most of the operational and maintenance costs of the building. Another thing to be aware of is the end date of the lease. Some commercial leases have a specific date when they end while others will automatically renew unless the landlord is notified by a certain date that you don’t want to renew. If the lease is auto-renewing make sure that you know exactly when the deadline is to cancel so that you don’t get stuck unintentionally in another lease.
Location, Layout, and Condition of the Property
Another important thing to be aware of before signing a lease for your office is the location, layout, and condition of the building/office. Under no circumstances should you ever sign a lease without seeing the property in person. Even if the pictures look great online, you still need to do a walk-through of the property. When you arrive for your property tour, first consider the location. Is the office easy to find or will your patients/customers have a tough time getting there? Is it surrounded by other offices? Consider if it’s in an office park, shopping center, or near a competitor. All of these are important location questions to consider before signing a lease.
Next, think about the layout of the location. Certain businesses like doctors’ offices need very specific layouts. Make sure you are happy with the layout of the office. Last but not least, check out the condition of the building. Signing a lease for a dilapidated building is never a good idea no matter how attractive the rent is. The building should be aesthetically pleasing, clean, and inviting so that your patients or customers feel comfortable coming to this location to see you. At Bowne Barry & Barry we help you make these assessments in order to find the perfect property for your business as a lawyer in East Brunswick NJ.
Negotiate Lease Terms
Commercial leases are different from residential leases in that the tenant has some ability to negotiate the terms. These types of leases are not subject to as many consumer protection laws, so sometimes issues arise like huge security deposits. This is something that you and your lawyer can negotiate with the landlord. Also, figure out what you need from the lease and try to make that happen. For example, if you are renting an office in a 5-story building with other offices, maybe you negotiate the lease terms so that you are the one who gets your business sign on the top of the building. In addition, make negotiations about improvements that you wish to make to the office.
A lot of times a commercial office will be bare upon rental. As a tenant, you might want to make some improvements and renovations so that the office is a more comfortable, inviting place that properly represents your brand. The lease negotiation process is the time to discuss these future renovations and have them put in the lease in writing so there will be no misunderstandings later on.
A Lawyer in East Brunswick NJ
Commercial leases can be complicated. Between all the different types of commercial leases out there and the legal jargon that is often included, you need an attorney to help you through the process. Bowne Barry & Barry, a lawyer in East Brunswick NJ, has a lot of experience dealing with commercial leases. In fact, one of our lawyers, Laura, has decades of experience as a real estate and transactional attorney. Rest assured that you are in good hands as we help you through the leasing process. For more information about signing commercial leases and the services we provide, contact Bowne Barry & Barry today.