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A commercial lease checklist helps ensure that a legally enforceable document allows for the rental of commercial real estate by a landlord to a tenant. An inventory of a commercial lease must include the necessary provisions that should be present in a commercial lease. It spells out the tenancy terms and conditions, including the length of the lease, rent, and responsibilities for both parties involved.

It is important to go through all of the terms or conditions before you sign your commercial lease agreement. Many people use a commercial lease checklist to assist with this process. This can assist in ensuring that all key items are addressed within such an agreement and that landlords and tenants understand their obligations and rights under such circumstances.

Key Parts of a Commercial Lease Checklist

  • Property Information: This part should give a detailed explanation of what exactly is being leased. It should include its location, size, and special characteristics. This ensures that both parties will have clarity on what they are leasing and any use restrictions on it.
  • Rent: Rent is one of the most important elements in any commercial lease agreement. Rent amount payable, date due, and late fees, if any, must be specified here. The rent amount should be reviewed carefully, considering its appropriateness based on the size and location of the space. In addition, there may be a cap on annual increments or required notice before an increase or decrease in rent, which needs to be highlighted in the contract.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: This part outlines who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of property leased by the landlord and tenant, respectively. For instance, the landlord may maintain the roof while the tenant has responsibility for interior fixtures. It’s crucial to understand these obligations and ensure that they are spelled out in the contract.
  • Alterations: For example, some contracts prohibit making changes like re-painting walls or installing new fixtures without permission from the landlord. Thus, restrictions regarding alterations must be specified here, as well as the procedure for getting approval for them. These limitations are necessary since they may affect how much one can make the space suited to their business requirements.
  • Termination: Conditions under which a lease could be terminated, such as default, bankruptcy, or early termination, should be outlined here. These terms and the consequences of termination should be well understood as it has a huge financial impact on both the landlord and tenant. Lastly, the process of returning the premises to the lessor, like inspection before leaving or giving back keys must be described in detail by the contract.

Crucial Clauses in a Commercial Lease Checklist

  • Description of Property: A clear description of what is being leased i.e., square footage, number of parking spaces specifically assigned, and any upgrades or improvements done.
  • Rent Payment Terms: Stipulating when rent is due, how much must be paid, and charges for late payment.
  • Security Deposit: The amount to be paid as security deposit, its due date, and conditions upon which it can be returned at expiry are all contained in this section.
  • Use of Premises: An explanation showing how the tenant is allowed to use the space and whether certain types of businesses are not permitted.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: On information about maintenance and repair, including who repairs are the landlord’s liability on a lease or tenant’s and which are.
  • Termination: The act of putting an end to a lease agreement by the landlord or tenant is referred to as termination. The lease should also indicate any notice requirements and consequences for breaking the agreement.
  • Subletting: Where the tenant can sublease the property and what should be done for that to happen.
  • Assignment and Transfer: Whether the tenant is allowed to lease or transfer the lease to another person and in which circumstances such assignment or transfer can happen.
  • Dispute Resolution: The terms of how disputes between landlord and tenant are determined, including any requirement for arbitration or mediation. Before signing a commercial lease agreement, it is important to go through it in full and understand all its terms and conditions so that you know what you are getting into based on your needs.
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Tips When Signing a US Commercial Lease

  • Location: Look at the location of the property and see if it is approachable or suitable for your employees, customers—or the people you do business with.
  • Zoning: Ensure that zoning permits this kind of business.
  • Space Requirements: Consider how big the space is and its layout, as well as whether it will meet your needs today and in the future.
  • Rent: Examine how much you have to pay in rent and how often, alongside whether there would be an increase every year.
  • Term: Mull throughout the tenancy and whether there are renewal options available.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Determine who will maintain and repair what and whether the landlord will effect any improvements or renovations to the premises.
  • Insurance: Review insurance policies required by the land owner versus those by the tenant and consider purchasing additional coverage if necessary.
  • Termination: Consider under what circumstances a lease may be terminated and the consequences for breaking it.
  • Subleasing: Determine if one can sublet the involved property, if yes, under what terms?
  • Assignment and Transfer: Decide whether or not you can transfer or assign a lease to another person and under what conditions such transfers may occur.
  • Dispute Resolution: Look into procedures for resolving disputes between landlords and tenants relating to which suggestions you accept.

Key Terms for a Commercial Lease Checklist

  • Rent: This means money that a tenant pays a landlord who owns his/her leased asset. It may vary from a month-to-month basis, quarterly basis, or annually with possible yearly increases.
  • Term: The length of time during which a property has been rented out, as agreed upon by both parties. This timeframe may either be definite or indefinite.
  • Maintenance & Repairs: This is about who has responsibility for keeping the property in condition.
  • Renewal Options: This refers to renewing the lease agreement for another term and the terms under which renewal is possible.
  • Termination: The conditions that should be met to end the lease agreement from either side. It is necessary for a lease agreement to specify the procedure of sending notices and penalties for breaching its conditions.

Final Thoughts on a Commercial Lease Checklist

The checklist is very useful in preventing misunderstandings, disputes, and legal issues that may occur later on during the tenancy. It’s always good to have the checklist reviewed by an attorney just to make sure it is legitimate and enforceable.

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ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


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