Commercial real estate leases can be very complicated documents with confusing language and terminology. When leasing commercial office space, having a Tenant Representative assist you with the negotiations and space search is always a good idea. However, real estate brokers and agents are not attorneys, so they cannot offer legal advice. It is best to hire a qualified real estate attorney to assist with your final lease review once your Tenant Rep has helped you reach agreeable terms.
The typical commercial real estate lease was created by the landlord to suit their specific needs. It was written to favor their interests. In most cases, the landlord had a lawyer (or several) draft the lease agreement on their behalf. It is always a good idea for office space tenants consult with an attorney to help ensure that the lease language will not allow them to be taken advantage of.
Don’t Overlook Important Office Lease Deal Points
As you conduct your lease review, it is important to remember that landlords don’t always correctly adjust their lease template to properly reflect your specific lease terms. Since the commercial lease documents can be very long and confusing, it can be hard to find some of the discrepancies on your own.
One example of an overlooked item is the common area maintenance fees. These are things that all the tenants of a building will share. They include such items as common area landscaping, building security, parking lot lighting and maintenance, etc. Landlords are not always forthright with these costs and may sometimes quote you old information.
You should have your Broker / Tenant Representative ask for reports on the previous year’s common area maintenance fees along with projections for the up coming year. This is so you can see approximate costs and be sure they are calculated correctly. Also during lease negotiations, you should try to make your lease terms clarify that your fees are dependent on the total RENTABLE square feet rather than the total RENTED square feet. With the latter, if tenants move out, you could be on the hook for their share as well.
Commercial Tenants Benefit From Attorney Lease Review
Having a lawyer ready to call puts your business on better footing. It allows you to be more confident when making the decision to sign a new office lease. It sends a message to the landlord that you won’t be bullied. Some landlords prefer dealing with lawyers directly during the final lease review. This is because they are professionals and there is less of a dialogue gap when it comes to terminology. Having an attorney review your commercial lease can help expedite the process.
When it comes to signing an office lease, an attorney can help protect your business interests. There is often ambiguous lease language that can easily be overlooked. These items can be hidden in complicated legal terms which a lawyer knows to look for. An attorney can also help mitigate future lease issues by suggesting alternative lease language.
Engaging a lawyer will be an added expense when signing a commercial office lease. However, when you compare the fees for an attorney lease review to that of signing a regrettable agreement, the benefits certainly outweigh the costs.