As small businesses often lease space from a lessor, the relationship they have with their landlord becomes extremely crucial. Unfortunately, a commercial tenant-landlord relationship isn’t the same as signing an apartment contract and making monthly payments. It is way more complicated than that.
Commercial leases often include a lot of fine print, but there are many things you can do to get around them while still maintaining a good business relationship with your landlord.
1. Review the contract thoroughly
A commercial lease isn’t like a residential contract you quickly scan. Most commercial landlords draft their contracts to make the most profits. If this is your first time dealing with a commercial contract, consider hiring commercial lawyers specialising in Brisbane’s commercial property law to help you understand the terms of the lease.
2. Consider other costs
Your potential landlord may decide to pass on all other expenses to you. Make sure to read the fine print, so you know who is paying for what. Typically, lessors will leave you to take care of taxes, insurance, operating costs, utilities, and maintenance of shared areas like parking lots and lobbies.
3. Level the playing field
Everything is negotiable in a commercial lease, so don’t sit there and take things as they come. Ask your lawyer to negotiate for an exclusivity clause, which keeps the lessor from renting out to a competitor. You might want guaranteed selling points like a high foot traffic. Put them down in writing, so you can easily leave if the lessor fails to meet their guarantee.
4. Leave a paper trail
Documenting all communication with your landlord will be useful in case you want to take further legal action. Use registered mail that requires the landlord to issue a proof of receipt so that you are sure they have received it. If you would like to document all payments, consider mailing your checks as well.
Commercial leases are often drafted largely in favour of the tenant. But the tide is turning and the industry is largely becoming a buyer’s market. These days, it should help you to know that you can negotiate practically everything and turn things in your favour.