Finding the right location for your business is a very important decision that you will need to make early on. You want a place within your budget that has growth potential and is hopefully within proximity to your target customers. No matter which location you end up choosing, one thing you need to pay attention to is the commercial lease law. Understanding your rights versus responsibilities as a tenant renting a commercial property can help you avoid legal implications that you might face throughout your lease term. In this article, we will explain what your responsibilities are as a tenant in commercial leases.
Finding a Replacing Tenant
Commercial leases are bound by a lease term which is the agreed-upon length of the contract that both parties need to commit to. If for any reason a tenant chooses to end the lease agreement before its stated term, it is the responsibility of the tenant to find a replacing tenant. Otherwise, it will be the tenant’s responsibility to continue paying rent to the property owner until the initial lease agreement reaches its full term. If you are a new business owner and are worried about committing to a yearly lease, you should make sure that your commercial lease agreement gives you the right for an early contract conclusion.
Maintenance of Shared Areas
With most commercial lease agreements, the tenant has to share in the maintenance of the shared areas like the lobby area and the elevators in an office building. However, this should be explicitly highlighted in the commercial lease contract. You can learn how professional realtors handle such matters to leave no room for any confusion. Usually, it is pretty logical what you should partake in, however, always be adamant to include all terms of your agreement in the binding contract.
Paying for Damages Incurred
The tenant is solely responsible for paying for any damages that they cause to the commercial property they are renting. According to the type of damage, most are normally covered by the commercial property insurance that many owners request from potential tenants. Even if the damages in question are not explicitly mentioned in the lease contract, it is your responsibility as a tenant to restore the property to its previous state.
Taking Notes of the State of the Property Before Moving In
Since as mentioned above the tenant will be held responsible for restoring the property to its original condition, it is her/his responsibility to take photos and take an inventory before they move in so as to use it against a greedy owner’s claims. This is a smart move that you need to keep in mind if you want to protect your rights as a tenant.
Hiring a Lawyer to Advise on the Commercial Lease Contract
Many people underestimate the seriousness of lease contracts and make the grave mistake of settling for a quick skim through the conditions before they rush into adding their signatures. Unfortunately, once a tenant signs the contract at her/his own volition, it will be very hard to challenge any items of disputes afterward. Hiring a lawyer experienced in commercial lease law is the responsibility of the tenant to spare her/him from entering an unfavored agreement that puts them in a weak position.
Paying the Rent On Time
One huge difference between a commercial property landlord and a residential one is that the former has the right to basically kick the tenant out if she/he fails to pay rent on time for an extended period. As a tenant of a commercial property, this leaves you with no wiggle room when it comes to paying your rent on time. Furthermore, the owner is not obliged to send you reminders, or prior notices, before she/he decides to change the locks and prohibit you from accessing your office. Regardless of what the reason for the delay in payment might be, as a tenant, you have no choice but to abide by the rules of the agreement.
Following Health and Safety Rules Set by the Law
If a fire takes place at the office you are renting, but you don’t have fire extinguishers as per safety measures, it is your responsibility to fix any damages. Even if the damages extend to the communal areas beyond your property. Tenants of commercial properties should assume full responsibility when it comes to adhering to health and safety measures in the workplace.
Although commercial lease agreements are mostly standard, the property owner and the tenant have the right to add or remove whatever they please as long as they do not contradict the law. As you have read, most of your responsibilities as a tenant not only make sense but are actually there to help you protect your rights and avoid being indicted, should anything go wrong with your landlord.