On behalf of Michael Brooks of Law Offices of Michael A. Brooks posted in commercial real estate on Saturday, February 17, 2018.

Commercial rental agreements are nothing like residential rental agreements — they’re vastly more complicated and something that many new business owners are unprepared to navigate on their own.

In addition, commercial leases aren’t granted the protections guaranteed under the law to those taking out a residential lease — business professionals are generally expected to fend for themselves. If you get stuck in a bad deal, you’re generally stuck with that bad deal — even if it’s grossly unfair.

That’s where a commercial real estate attorney can often help. The attorney’s job is to be familiar with the laws and the potential drawbacks of any terms in the lease — and to advise you when to negotiate and when to run. Among other things, a real estate attorney can help you:

  • Understand what type of commercial lease you are taking (since there are several options) and how that can affect your business
  • Determine whether rental escalation clauses are tied to a reasonable figure or are likely to leave your business struggling
  • Make sure that you have a reasonable right to sublease, if necessary
  • Make sure that any failure of the building to meet the accessibility requirements of the American’s With Disabilities Act doesn’t become your problem
  • Determine what right you have to terminate the lease
  • Make certain that you know who is responsible for the maintenance of the grounds and any common areas shared between tenants
  • Determine what would happen to your lease if the landlord sold the property
  • Advise you about the wisdom of accepting a lease that holds you to mediation or binding arbitration instead of allowing you to take a claim to court

In addition, because the laws surrounding commercial leases are often tied to the location of the lease, they can vary highly — even inside the same city. Part of an attorney’s job is to make certain that the lease is compliant with the law.

While not everyone needs help understanding the complex world of commercial leases, many new business owners can benefit from an attorney’s guidance. It helps to have a clear vision of the potential for future problems — that way, they can’t take you by surprise.

Source: Inc., “Understanding Commercial Leases,” accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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