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A commercial building lease is a legally binding agreement between a landlord and a tenant, defining the terms and conditions of renting a commercial space. This agreement outlines the rights and obligations of both parties during the lease term, including the rental rate, lease duration, payment terms, maintenance responsibilities, and many other crucial aspects of the lease.

Types of Commercial Building Leases

There are two main types of commercial building leases: net lease and gross lease. The tenant pays rent, property taxes, and maintenance costs in a net lease. On the other hand, in a gross lease, the landlord takes care of all the expenses, and the tenant only pays the monthly rent. Both leases have pros and cons, and choosing the right one depends on the business's specific needs. Following are other types of commercial building leases:

  • Modified Gross Lease

    A modified gross lease is a hybrid between gross and triple net leases. In a modified gross lease, the tenant pays a fixed rent each month, including some or all of the property expenses. This type of lease is often negotiated between the landlord and tenant and can be customized to meet the needs of both parties.

  • Percentage Lease

    A percentage lease is a type of lease that requires the tenant to pay a base rent plus a percentage of their gross sales. This type of lease is often used in retail spaces where the tenant's sales are directly related to their use of the space.

  • Ground Lease

    In a ground lease, the tenant leases the land from the landlord and is responsible for building and maintaining the commercial building on the property. This type of lease is often used for large-scale commercial projects such as shopping centers or office parks.

  • Short-Term Lease

    A short-term lease is a lease agreement that typically lasts for one year or less. This type of lease is often used for temporary or seasonal commercial uses, such as pop-up shops or seasonal businesses.

It is important for tenants and landlords to carefully consider the type of commercial lease that best suits their needs and negotiate the lease terms accordingly.

Essentials of Negotiating a Commercial Building Lease

Negotiating a commercial building lease is a crucial aspect of the leasing process. Tenants should take the time to review the lease carefully and negotiate the terms that are favorable to their business. The lease terms are not set in stone, and it is possible to negotiate clauses such as rent increases, security deposits, or lease renewals. To ensure that all legal requirements are met, and the lease is fair, it is recommended to consult with a tenant lawyer who specializes in commercial leasing.

  • Lease Term

    The lease term is the length of time that the tenant will be leasing the commercial building. Negotiating a lease term suitable for both the tenant and the landlord is important. Factors to consider include the tenant's business needs, market conditions, and the landlord's long-term plans for the property.

  • Rent and Rent Escalation

    Rent is typically the largest expense for a tenant in a commercial building lease. Negotiating a fair rent that reflects the current market conditions and the property's value is important. Rent escalation clauses should also be considered, determining how rent increases over time.

  • Security Deposit

    The security deposit is the amount the landlord holds to cover any damages or unpaid rent at the end of the lease term. Negotiating a reasonable security deposit consistent with the market conditions and the tenant's financial situation is important.

  • Tenant Improvements

    Tenant improvements are modifications to the commercial building to suit the tenant's business needs. It is important to negotiate tenant improvement allowances, which are funds provided by the landlord to cover the costs of these improvements. The terms of tenant improvements should be carefully negotiated and included in the lease agreement.

  • Use Clause

    The use clause specifies the permitted uses of the commercial building. It is important to negotiate a use clause consistent with the tenant's business needs and allows for flexibility if the tenant's needs change over time.

  • Maintenance and Repair Responsibilities

    The lease agreement should clearly define maintenance and repair responsibilities. It is important to negotiate a fair allocation of these responsibilities between the landlord and the tenant.

  • Renewal and Termination Options

    Renewal and termination options provide the tenant with flexibility at the end of the lease term. It is important to negotiate reasonable renewal and termination options that reflect the tenant's business needs and the landlord's long-term plans for the property.

  • Subleasing and Assignment Rights

    Subleasing and assignment rights allow the tenant to lease the commercial building to another party or transfer the lease to another party. It is important to negotiate reasonable subleasing and assignment rights that reflect the tenant's business needs and the landlord's interests.

  • Legal Review

    A commercial building lease is a legally binding document that an experienced real estate attorney should review. It is important to have the lease agreement reviewed by legal counsel to ensure that it is fair and reflects the interests of both parties.

  • Negotiation Process

    The negotiation process should be conducted in good faith, with a willingness to compromise and find mutually beneficial solutions. Maintaining open communication and a positive relationship between the tenant and the landlord is important throughout the negotiation process.

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Key Terms

  • Rent: Rent is the amount of money that the tenant pays the landlord to use the commercial building. It is usually calculated based on the square footage of the leased space and is typically paid every month.
  • Triple Net Lease: A triple net lease is a commercial building lease in which the tenant is responsible for paying all of the property expenses in addition to rent, including property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.
  • Tenant Improvements: Tenant improvements are modifications to the commercial building to suit the tenant's business needs. The cost of tenant improvements is usually negotiated between the tenant and the landlord and may be funded through a tenant improvement allowance provided by the landlord.
  • Use Clause: The use clause specifies the permitted uses of the commercial building. It is important for both the tenant and the landlord to carefully consider the use clause to ensure that it is consistent with the tenant's business needs and any zoning or regulatory requirements.
  • Security Deposit: A security deposit is a sum of money held by the landlord to cover any damages or unpaid rent at the end of the lease term. The security deposit amount is usually negotiable and may be based on factors such as the tenant's creditworthiness and the length of the lease term.

Conclusion

To summarize, a commercial building lease is crucial to running a business. Understanding the terms and conditions included in the lease agreement is essential for avoiding any future conflicts. Tenants should negotiate the terms that are favorable to their business and seek the advice of a tenant lawyer to ensure that the lease is fair and legally binding.

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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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Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Building Lease

Florida

Asked on Mar 21, 2023

What's permitted use in a commercial lease?

I am in the process of negotiating a commercial lease for my business and I am interested in understanding the concept of "permitted use." Specifically, I am curious about what activities are allowed in the leased space and what limitations there may be. I would like to consult with a lawyer to ensure that the terms of the lease align with the needs of my business and that I am not at risk of violating any provisions.

Diane D.

Answered Mar 21, 2023

Permitted use means that you can only use it for the reason you rented it. For example, you cannot rent a place to use as a gym but then use it for a nightclub.

Read 1 attorney answer>

Real Estate

Commercial Building Lease

California

Asked on Mar 21, 2023

What's CAM charge in a commercial lease?

I am currently negotiating a commercial lease for a property where I plan to operate my business. As part of the negotiation process, the landlord has mentioned the concept of a CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charge, which I am unfamiliar with. I would like to seek the advice of a lawyer to better understand what a CAM charge is, what it covers, and what my responsibilities as a tenant would be in relation to this charge.

Paul S.

Answered Mar 21, 2023

CAM charges are for common area maintenance. For example, in an office building, CAM charges are for maintaining the lobby, elevators, corridors, and outside areas (such as the parking lot). If you are looking at renting a space, the landlord should be able to provide you with CAM numbers for that space for the past several years, so you know what to expect.

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