When you rent commercially, you have a lease that details your rights and responsibilities. Your lease will also discuss what the landlord is obligated to do for you. Naturally, you want a lease that works in your favor (whenever possible) or is fair.
Negotiating a good contract that addresses the potential problems you may face down the road is key to avoiding any serious disputes that could erupt into a full-on fight and legal action.
What issues should your lease address?
Avoiding problems with your landlord starts with good negotiations, and you can always negotiate better when you have a clearer understanding of the common problems that cause disputes between commercial landlords and their tenants.
For example, what happens if there is damage done to the building during your tenancy that isn’t your fault? Will that be your responsibility to manage or your landlords? Another potential problem is high utility rates or building taxes, especially if you have a triple net lease. If your business is smaller, those could be pricey and take a significant portion of your income, so consider negotiating out of utility costs or a share of building taxes when possible.
Your lease should also discuss the maintenance of the property and clearly define what is — and is not — your landlord’s responsibility. It should also indemnify you against losses if there’s an accident due to maintenance failures on the landlord’s part or forced closure of your business during repairs.
Finally, in these uncertain times, it’s always wise to address what would happen if the entire building is forced to close or ends up damaged due to some unforeseen event. In a catastrophe, are you covered under the landlord’s insurance policy? What insurance are you expected to carry?
Get help with complex lease negotiations
If you’re not happy with the landlord’s response before signing your lease, you could negotiate or walk away and find a different rental property. With good contract negotiation, you will have a better chance of avoiding disputes — but negotiations don’t always come easy. An experienced attorney can help protect your interests and guide you through the process.