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Commercial leases require negotiation and attention to detail

A commercial lease is necessary for business owners who don't own a property but need a space to house the business. These leases aren't as simple as residential leases so you must give great attention to the details.

There are several points that you need to remember when you are negotiating and reviewing a commercial lease. Here are a few to get you started:

Pay attention to the property description

The property description is important because it lets you know about the space that you are renting. You can review this to find out what areas are solely for your business and what areas are common that you will share with other businesses.

Learn about the maintenance expenses

As you review the lease, make sure that you find out how the maintenance costs are handled for the common areas. Does the landlord cover snow removal? Is this included in your rent or is it an additional expense during the winter months? What about cutting grass and other exterior maintenance?

Additionally, find out what, if any, cost you will incur for major maintenance costs like having to replace an HVAC unit or repair plumbing. These costs can add up quickly so you need to make sure you understand how these will be handled.

Review the rent terms

The rent payment terms for some commercial tenants is based on an amount per square foot. Sometimes, this isn't negotiable at all. You might be able to work something out with the landlord that will provide you with free months where you don't pay rent instead of getting a reduction in the amount per square foot. This is because the landlord can still cite the rate per square foot without having to consider those free months, which could be helpful for interactions with investors.


Some commercial spaces come with restrictions on when you will be able to open. Make sure that you find out about these restrictions before you sign a lease. Sometimes, there is a fee to access the building during off hours, so find out if this is the case. Having to pay each time you need to get in outside of normal operating hours could pose a problem if you need to have flexibility to run your business.

It is always a good idea to read over the lease line by line and to do it more than once. You must ensure that you don't miss anything that could have an impact on your business.

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