Before signing on a lease, it’s always important to know what you’re getting yourself into. By carefully reading the lease entirely can help straighten out any probable problems before they happen. For first-time renters, signing on the dotted line is often thought of as just part of the rental process. The excitement that comes with a new office space sometimes surpasses the responsibilities that go with renting an office. Before signing that lease, it is important to read the fine print and be aware of what your landlord expects of you, as well as what you can expect of your landlord. Make sure you review the lease carefully for requirements relating to often overlooked polices such as guests, parking, pets, and painting. Here are some other things you might want to be aware of before moving in:
– As soon as you sign, you’re stuck…….at least until the term of the lease ends. Many people think that just because you’re not buying the space, you can bail out if things don’t go right for the business. But that’s wrong, a lease is a contract, a legal commitment. So take a second look and inspect the place, know what you getting yourself into before you move in and realize you actually need more space or that the building is not so safe at night.
– Second thing to consider is know exactly what is the tenants responsibilities. Before signing the lease, make sure you have actually inspected the unit you will be moving into. Make sure there are no damaged areas or safety hazards. Inspect all window and door locks to make sure they are in working order. If anything needs to be fixed, make sure it is taken care of before you move in, or have it added to the lease (in writing). Make sure any pre-existing damage the landlord isn’t going to fix, for example, stained carpets, broken blinds, or stained walls, are written into your lease agreement as “pre-existing”. If these damages go undocumented you can end up losing your security deposit or even charged for those damages when you move out.
– Security Deposits is another major thing to educate yourself on. Many landlords and rental agencies will charge what is called a security deposit. This deposit is usually equal to one or two month’s rent and is refundable if certain conditions are met upon moving out of the rented space. The purpose of the deposit is to ensure that rent is paid on time, and to cover unusual repairs that may be needed when a renter moves out due to damage caused by the renter. So be careful and document any and all repairs requested from the landlord as well as any repairs done by you.
– More importantly, what are the terms of the lease? If you expand rapidly, is there a provision for breaking the lease at minimal expense? If you later downsize, will the lease allow you to sublet the extra space you don’t need? Before signing any agreements, check out the landlord, too. Discuss the terms before requesting a lease and make sure the landlord spells out each party’s obligation prior to signing the lease agreement. Leases are written by the developer and/or their lawyers so most are tilted slightly in their favor. If some things seem unfair do not hesitate to have a lawyer review or ask for clarification from the landlord.
– The last and most important fact is that there’s too much space around for the number of active businesses. For the first time in many years, tenants are in demand. For every business that closes, another space comes onto the market. So now as a tenant its your chance to negotiate better terms for your lease. Ask for a shorter term. Don’t get tied up in a long term lease, that down the line if your business doesn’t pick up you will still be responsible for the remaining months. You’ll also want to factor in and negotiate rent increases over the term and renewal options so that you are not unexpectedly hit with a rent increase without warning from your landlord – something that can quickly compromise you cash flow and margins.