Signing Your First Commercial Lease
Your business has grown and now it is time to move out of your spare bedroom or garage and into a commercial space. This may be your first office, which enables you to bring more employees on board. Or it might be your first official storefront, which you hope will draw in more customers. Whatever the purpose of your first location, you will need an experienced Florida commercial real estate attorney help you review the lease and ensure you are getting what you sign up for.
The Basics of the Commercial Lease
A commercial lease can have some of the same elements as a residential lease, though it will often have much more. Some of the basics include:
- The premises you have exclusive control over,
- Restrictions on the use of the space,
- The premises outside of your commercial space that you have access to,
- Your right to alter or improve the commercial space,
- Your responsibility in regard to insurance, and
- The dates of your tenancy.
All of this should be clear in the lease. However, by working with an attorney, you have someone who can spot potential issues, like if the lease does not address customer or employee parking or restricts you from making basic improvements you would need to set up an office or store.
The Cost of the Commercial Lease
With a residential lease, you know you have your monthly rent payment and then you usually sign up for you utilities separately, which you are responsible for paying. In a commercial lease, your financial obligation could be a bit more confusing. A landlord could charge you a lump sum and then take care of various expenses himself. This can be great for a first time commercial tenant because it keeps your expenses consistent.
However, other methods are also common. Your base rent could be smaller yet you may be responsible for other expenses, such as utilities, property taxes, maintenance, and property insurance. It is very common to be charged your proportionate share for things like the building’s taxes, insurance, and common area utilities.
When it is clear that everything is not included in one rent payment, make sure to work with an attorney to know which other expenses you will be responsible for in the future. An experienced commercial real estate lawyer can also help you negotiate a better rate.
If you have never dealt with a commercial tenancy before, then you may not even know the right questions to ask. What is your access to the space? Is it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or less? Who cleans the space? Does the building provide janitorial services, or will you need to pay for a separate service? What happens if your business does not prosper as you expect it to and you need out of the lease? How much does it cost to get out of the contract or to sublet your space?
An experienced Florida commercial real estate attorney at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. will make sure you do not sign a commercial lease until you understand all of the details. Call us today at 561-571-8970 for help today.