Negotiating a New Lease

One of the less-pleasant aspects of owning a business is dealing with the hassle of a lease. If your company is mature, it is highly likely that a long-term (at least five years) lease is a better option. Is there adjacent space available for expansion later? Moving costs can be steep; taking over an adjacent space is saves on hassle and costs.

Find a space that works for you as-is. Landlords do not want to spend a lot. They are often willing to pay for minor adjustments like painting and carpet cleaning; however, landlords are reluctant to change the configuration of the space by taking down walls or making other major improvements. If you are signing a longer-term lease, then the landlord might be willing to pay for more substantial alterations to the space.

Check the parking. Be certain that you take business growth into account when evaluating the parking situation, particularly if your lease is long. What may be acceptable now might not work 5 years down the line.

Choose a desirable location. Dealing with higher crime rates is not fun, and may increase your insurance costs.

Carefully read through the restrictions. You might have grand visions of what your sign will look like, but your options may be limited. Also, see if sub-leasing is permitted. Your plans may change.

Check the zoning before you sign. It’s obvious, but it bear repeating–make sure the property is zoned for what you want to do with it.

Finally, if you don’t already have a business attorney, you will definitely need to find one before you sign a lease.

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