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Negotiating the Best Commercial Office Lease: The Standard Office Space Lease Agreement

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So you’ve found that perfect commercial office space for your organization, whether a small start-up or huge corporation. You’ve viewed the property and made a clear assessment that all your needs are available at the selected location.

Once you’ve told the commercial office property owner that you want to locate your business in their property, you are likely to be presented with a standard lease package. Do not sign any papers at this point but accept the lease for review. Explain to the landlord that you much go over the lease with care so that you completely understand it.

You specific needs are unique and may require significant lease changes during negations. Here are a few specific points that any tenant should look for in the standard lease package:

·         An accurate description of the commercial office space should be clearly listed in the lease.

·         How much is the rent and exactly when is it due? Are there any late charges if not paid on the correct date?

·         Is there a security deposit and how much is it? Under what conditions is this deposit repaid upon vacating the commercial office space and what conditions permit the landlord to refuse to return the security deposit?

·         What is the lease period and are there provisions to facilitate lease renewal if desired?

·         What are the terms in the lease regarding vacating the premises early? Do you have the right to move into another, larger office space owned by the landlord without penalty? Do you have any rights to rent additional space if your business grows more rapidly than anticipated?

·         Is there a cleaning deposit for preparing the space for the next tenant when you vacate the premises and is this fee returned if you leave the premises in the same condition as upon delivery?

·         Identify verbiage defining how much parking may be used by the tenant and what, if any, number of spaces can be marked as reserved.

·         Review all references to use of common space. You should have the right to enter and egress at any time of day or night and access to all common spaces unless specific restrictions are contained in the lease. Also, watch out for clauses regarding common space upkeep or charges.

·         The lease should clearly state what utilities are the responsibility of the tenant as well as what are paid by the landlord. The same goes for charges for maintenance and repairs for any problems not the result of misuse or neglect on the part of the tenant.

·         Is there are space in the lease or reference to an addendum where notes regarding the condition of the property at delivery may be noted.

·         Is there any defined allowance for tenant improvements?

·         What rights to signage are included in the lease?

·         Does the lease provide for delivery of a punch list after tenant improvements are accomplished?

There are dozens of additional points that will stand out in the lease to you. Some of them may be points you do not understand and you should highlight these for investigation. Other verbiage may not meet your needs. Highlight each portion of the lease that either is unclear, misleading or requires negotiation. These are items that you will need to cover with the help of your leasing team.

In the next article in this series we will determine who the members of your leasing team should be and how to select the best team to ensure the best commercial office lease for your business. 

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By: James Osgood

Office Leasing Tips , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Negotiations

3 responses to “Negotiating the Best Commercial Office Lease: The Standard Office Space Lease Agreement”

  1. Bill A Says:
    Nice! Interesting detail that I have been looking for on the Internet and that I found in your post. You made my day ;-)
  2. Amy Says:
    In Seattle, Washington, will tenant share the proportion of the casualty fees which occur during the lease period?

    Amy
  3. Jim O Says:
    In Seattle, it depends on the type of lease you have. The norm for a Seattle area office building lease is that it is a gross aka fully serviced lease. So no, you would not share in the base expense of casualty fees. What you will have to pay is a pro-rata share of any increases in casualty fees over the base year, which is usually the first year of your lease. Hope this helps.