“To Do’s” Before Signing Your Next Office Lease

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  1. Take careful note of the components of the the CAM ( Common Area Maintenance) charges. Certain components of these need not be included in your monthly charges.
  2. Ensure that various options for future delivery from ownership contain mediation or arbitration provisions. Consult a competent Real Estate attorney.
  3. Obtain a clear and precise understanding of which party is responsible for what costs regarding any part of the HVAC and water heating systems. Ownership usually depreciates these items and are a capital asset.
  4. Review and understand explicit exclusions and prohibitions in your lease. Ensure that your daily business operations comply.
  5. If you hear the words “trust me” from the owner’s agent or the owner himself, smile and practice politely saying “Would you please put that in writing” as an automatic and rapid response. This is best practiced 3 times in front of a mirror.
  6. Engage competent legal advisors who have a practice focus on tenant representation to review your lease. Inquire of your prospective legal advisor what percentage of her business is ownership representation. A very high percentage could influence your advisors viewpoint.
  7. If you intend to spend significant sums for your commercial space build out, secure legal advice on your protections from mortgage holder foreclosure and early lease termination. A good tenant representative will help determine neighborhood trends.
  8. Seek lease provisions that allow you to fix a building problem if ownership is not responsive. These costs should be deductible against rent.
  9. Ensure that your business insurance is in compliance with all relevant lease clauses lest you be found in default of one of those provisions.
  10. Verify actual square footage with that used in the lease for cost allocations. Discrepancies are very common and unnecessarily costly.
  11. Consider engaging a professional tenant representative. He will save you time. There is no magic to the leasing process. It is just time and expertise intensive.
  12. Begin looking for your space no later than 8 months ahead of your intended occupancy. If you do not have enough time to evaluate and calmly choose, your results can suffer.

 

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