Commercial leases are very different from residential ones. Time and money greatly increase the need for legal review before signing. The longer the lease term, and the more money involved, the more you want to lock in certain protections for your company.
Commercial leases are generally for five years on up. You want to have them reviewed by a lawyer to make sure that you, as the tenant, don’t become responsible for more than you thought. Are you responsible for putting on a new roof? Putting in a new HVAC system? Replacing the plate glass window when it’s shattered? Are you responsible for snow removal or tending to the parking lot? How often can they raise the rent, and in what amount? Under what circumstances can you get out of the lease, and how? All of these become increasingly important the longer the lease term is.
There are other factors to consider as well. You don’t want to be stuck paying on a space for years and years if it becomes unusable, or if you can’t use it anymore. Also, if the landlord is asking for a personal guarantee, very often a lawyer can help you negotiate changes that limit that. So that you have a personal guarantee at the beginning but after two years, three years, it starts to step down and fall off. Think of it this way: the more you can be stuck, the greater the need to have it reviewed.
For more on commercial leases and business partnerships in general, download Eliot’s free ‘Fire, Aim, Ready…: Partnership’ e-book here.