If you are a business owner leasing commercial space from a property owner, you will need to have in place an enforceable lease. You might assume that a lease just dictates how long the lease will be in place and how much rent you will pay, but there are many details and specifications that can be included in a commercial lease.
If you don't closely review the lease with the help of an attorney prior to signing it, you could get caught in some costly disputes based on negotiable conditions you weren't expecting or didn't understand.
For instance, you probably expect that you will agree to a specific rent amount when you sign a lease. You might not realize, however, that you have also agreed to significant annual rent increases. If you are aware of these increases prior to signing, you can negotiate limits, grace periods and caps.
You might also learn that can't use the space for the purposes you intended. You should not assume that just because commercial space was once used for a specific purpose that it will still be zoned for the same purpose. Before you sign a lease, be sure that you have checked zoning ordinances and limitations of the space.
Another unexpected surprise could come when you need to resolve a leasing dispute. If you have signed a lease without proper examination, then you might find you cannot take the dispute to court if you agreed to an alternative dispute resolution clause. This means that instead of litigation, you will have to go through arbitration or mediation to resolve a dispute, which may not be in your best interests.
These are just a few examples of surprises that can appear in a commercial lease. There are countless items a landlord may try to include in a lease, even if it makes the document unenforceable. In order to avoid costly disputes and challenges to a lease in the future, it can be wise to carefully examine a commercial lease prior to signing it. Doing so with an attorney can ensure you understand the legal ramifications of the document and help you spot any potential red flags.