Commercial leases are typically prepared by the landlord’s attorney. As a result, the initial draft of commercial leases are beneficial to the landlord. In addition, courts will interpret and enforce commercial leases in accordance with its terms (unlike residential leases, where there are a number of statutory protections in place such as the obligation to provide heat during the winter season).
Experienced commercial leasing attorneys are also familiar with the market and know what are commercially reasonable concessions as well as how to request them. There are a number of terms and conditions in a lease, all of which are negotiable. It’s important to request changes to the lease which protect your tenancy by providing standards for landlord to review requests by you, providing sufficient time to cure defaults and otherwise balancing the monetary and non-monetary lease obligations in accordance with what other tenants in similar space in similar neighborhoods have.
Even if there is a term sheet or letter of intent in place setting forth the business terms of a deal, or you know what requests for concessions to make from the landlord, it’s important to closely review the actual language in the lease. A couple of added words to a provision can change a party’s obligation (for example, “Landlord shall perform…” is different than “Landlord shall use commercially reasonable efforts to perform…”).
An experienced commercial leasing attorney can ensure that the term sheet/letter of intent is properly incorporated into the commercial lease as well as request commercially reasonable concessions from the landlord to protect your tenancy and subsequent investment into the location.