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Understanding key elements of commercial leases

Starting or expanding a business is a big deal. Whether someone is taking on a commercial lease for the first time or has previous experience, it is important to be aware of the various aspects that may affect them.

Though there may be some variations in different leases, certain things remain the same. There are a few key elements to be aware of in regard to any commercial lease.

Important terms

Property owners have quite a bit of leeway in determining the terms of their commercial leases. Therefore, the wording and stipulations may change from lease to lease. However, most leases do account for a few main aspects, including:

  • Clear description of rent space
  • Length of lease term
  • Lease termination details
  • Rental cost and any additional fees
  • Security deposit and any conditions on return
  • Property maintenance
  • Options or restrictions on subleasing
  • Arbitration and dispute mediation

If a lease does not include these terms initially, it may be beneficial to discuss it with the property owner and add them to the lease. Negotiation is essential to achieving a favorable agreement. If there are any terms that a lessee is not familiar with, it is important to seek clarity. If the lessee is uncomfortable with any term or does not believe it to be fair, this should be brought to the negotiation table.

Not residential

A commercial lease is not the same as a residential lease; there are a few ways that commercial and residential leases differ. Residential leases lend themselves to protect more of the interest of the tenants, whereas commercial leases give the owner more options. Most residential leases maintain the same main stipulations across the board. On the other hand, property owners are able to develop their own leases, which leaves room for greater negotiation options.

Other elements of commercial leases may apply, depending on the circumstances. A business owner should seek an attorney's counsel before signing any lease agreement.

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