Finding and leasing a commercial property can be complicated and time consuming. Whether you are looking for the perfect place to launch your small business or seeking retail and warehouse space for a major expansion of your company, you will be dealing with landlords, contractors, zoning officials and other entities.
As eager as you may be to get your business going in its new location, the last thing you want to do is to rush to sign a commercial lease before carefully considering every contingency. A lease is a contract, and signing it may bind you to terms you are not willing or able to meet.
The lease may not say it all
You sign the lease and receive your keys, but did you take the time to read the fine print? A commercial lease can hide some critical items, including your physical and financial responsibility for common spaces and nuisance clauses that may affect the very nature of your business. While you may feel the pressure of your own timetable, it is wise to take as much time as you need to do the following:
- Analyze the location, its demographics and the potential for success for your product or service.
- Research the landlord and property owner to learn if they are financially stable, current on mortgage and utility payments, and generally easy to work with.
- Know the zoning laws of the New Jersey municipality and keep those in mind as you read over the lease.
- Ask for clarification or modification of a lease’s nuisance clause that may affect your business, such as odors or noise.
- Consider the terms of a lease, such as short or long, and which is most appropriate for your business.
- Make sure you understand the rent structure, when you pay and what it includes, such as insurance, taxes, utilities and other fees.
- Ask if your lease allows you to modify the building or property and what the ramifications are for making such changes.
You may also need to consider how your lease addresses such issues as your obligations if the property owner should sell the building or your business should close before your lease expires. Resolving these questions may require negotiating some terms of the lease. You may find a skilled attorney can handle these negotiations efficiently. In fact, enlisting the services of an attorney to guide you through your search for commercial property and review a lease for you before you sign may be a wise move.