Many people believe when they receive either a form or extensive printed lease that not much is negotiable except for the rent and the term. For those of us who represent both landlord and tenants, we are aware that almost every paragraph is negotiable and that it is very important to do so as the lease is usually for several years and the consequences in areas that were not negotiated can be quite substantial over the term of the lease.
Certain clauses, such as condemnation and the fire clauses, are very important if the lease is long term and the tenant is putting in a substantial amount of improvements. This also applies to what the landlord will do in the area of construction allowance. Some clauses, such as rent concession, can be a big help to a new tenant just starting out. Real estate tax escalations and common area maintenance charges are also not set in stone. They are both negotiable items from both landlord and tenant’s position and have a substantial impact over the term of the lease.
Very often the real estate broker will help the landlord or tenant establish the key terms of the lease, but again these are merely recommendations. Depending on the market in your area, almost everything is open to discussion. Since we represent both landlords and tenants, we have the ability to recognize both points of view and that has enabled us to move the parties to a meeting of the minds, which should result in a lease that gives neither party all they want, but enough to make it worthwhile for them to enter into the lease. No matter whether the property is in New York City or a small town upstate, we can handle it. The negotiations may be different, but the same issues apply to all leases so a thorough knowledge of what is reasonable in your area and the ability to convince the other side of that will enable you to reach an agreeable document.
Our firm has represented the largest bank in the world and the landlord with the largest office building in the suburbs. We have also represented doctors, lawyers, gas station operations, restaurants, beauty parlors and dozens of other small businesses. Whether you own an office building, shopping center or even a vacant lot, we can help you. If you are opening a medical practice, a retail store or a small business office, we can help you. This may be a first lease, but it is not ours. Don’t sign a long term lease without having an experienced attorney review it and advising you on it. It may be one of the most expensive projects you ever become involved in so make sure you can live with the terms. Since many leases involve a personal guaranty you may be staking your financial future on it, so items like a “good guy” clause or a limited term guaranty are important items to consider. Likewise, if cash if a problem, many landlords will accept a letter of credit as security or a staged in deposit. Since both landlord and tenant are working to reach an agreement acceptable to both of them, you must know all the possible options available. Let us help you put together the lease that works for you.