When you’re leasing a professional office, you might want to consider a retail location. Many doctors, lawyers, dentists, and other professionals are moving into these types of settings, to make it more convenient for the people who seek out their services.
When you do that, though, you’ll want to be careful of the commercial lease you’re signing. These types of leases very often have provisions for retail shops and operations that wouldn’t be applicable to anyone with a different type of business. Still, if you sign that lease in a place like Richmond, Virginia, you could be bound by the lease terms.
It’s better to avoid that risk, and make sure you have the lease modified to fit you and your type of business. One of the main things to look at is what the lease says about permitted use. As a professional who’s business is growing and changing, you may need to have more control over what you can do in the space.
A commercial lease often won’t give you that, but you can work with the landlord to modify the wording so it’s acceptable to both of you. Trade names are also a part of the lease, and often don’t have relevance for professional offices. That can be removed from the document you’re asked to sign.
Make sure your lease doesn’t require continuous operations and extended hours. These are lease provisions that are common for retail space, but they don’t really apply to people who work in professional offices. Read through carefully, and have that wording removed or modified so you don’t end up in violation of your lease when you close your doors at 5pm or aren’t open on the weekends.
Another thing you need to have stricken from your lease are radius restrictions. These are used to keep retail tenants from opening a competing business to close to the current one, thus taking business away from the retail center and hurting the landlord’s bottom line. They really don’t apply to professional offices, and should be removed from any lease you agree to.
Look into the transfer provisions of the lease, and make sure you can assign it to someone else or transfer a controlling interest in your business if you want or need to. Most commercial leases prohibit that for retail tenants, but there’s no reason you should have to abide by that in a professional business.
Most retailers have to provide revenue statements to the landlord, what they can do with the inside of the space is very restricted, and they have to handle their own maintenance, as well. These are other issues you’ll want to consider (and have changed) before signing your lease.
Commercial Lease | Ryan C. Young, Attorney | Richmond, Virginia