Mistakes Small Businesses Make when entering into a Commercial Lease | Ryan C. Young | Virginia Commercial Lease Lawyer

Commercial Lease Attorney 

Business owners are well aware that in this tenant-friendly economic climate, there are some great deals out there. Even so, no matter the economy, the combination of emotion, inexperience and a rigid landlord is a recipe for disaster.

Entering into a commercial lease, should not be taken lightly. Thus, it is essential that you obtain an experienced attorney to assist you, ensuring all your needs are met in your lease.

Unfortunately, although there are laws in place to protect residential tenants, no laws protect commercial tenants. This means that without the assistance of an experienced attorney, you will be on your own, when negotiating your lease. Unbelievably, a bad lease actually has the potential to kill your business.

Four Things You Need to Remember During Your Commercial Lease Negotiations

1. Avoid making your lease negotiations while in ‘panic mode.’

‘Panic mode’ can refer to numerous circumstances, including an increase in your business requiring more space or your short-term lease has ended unexpectedly, due to the sale of the building. These situations could interfere with your negotiation abilities.

The most important thing you can do is remain levelheaded. Alleviating these fears is easier, when you have a supportive legal advisor working with you throughout your negotiations. Landlords generally have the ability to sense when a potential tenant is distressed; do not let that be you!

2. Do not sign a long-term lease without requiring the landlord give you proportional concessions.

Naturally, most landlords favor a long-term lease with their commercial tenants. These leases generally run five to ten years or more. In return, you may want to ask for specific items related to the lease length. This can be a tenant set-up at the expense of the landlord or free rent for a specific length of time.

3. Before signing the lease, make sure that your business is already approved for zoning. Do not take the landlord’s word for it; you need to make sure for yourself.

Before entering into your lease negotiations, get permission from the township or city zoning officer. Your potential landlord may believe whatever he tells you, but he does not make the determination. If the town will not allow you to place your business in the space you are considering, you are wasting valuable time by negotiating a lease that you will not be able to use.

4. Always, remember to get practical ‘out’ clauses built into your lease.

In the least, you need an ‘option to sell your business and assign’ and a ‘sublease option.’ It is reasonable, for your potential landlord, to require his express written consent, in order for you to implement these options. However, be sure you add the phrase ‘landlord will not unreasonably withhold’ after his consent requirement.
Keeping these four things in mind and seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney, should ensure that you get the best lease possible.


Law Office of Ryan C. Young, PLLC | Richmond, Virginia | Commercial Lease

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