Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Managing Editor & Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Aug 27, 2013

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Choosing the right office space for your business can be an exciting but also challenging endeavor. Once you have a clear understanding of your property requirements, and have found what appears to be the best office space, you are ready to proceed.

Know What is Included in Your Lease

A commercial lease is generally quite different from a residential agreement, with fewer built-in protections, and is customized to meet the needs of the parties. It is crucial that you, as the tenant, carefully read and understand your lease before signing it. You must know exactly what is the meaning of each term. If you have any questions, ask an attorney or third party before you enter into this agreement. You may be happy with the specified rental amount, but you must be sure there are no hidden costs which you have not considered. You need to calculate the full cost of the space, including utilities and moving expenses, to make an informed decision on whether you can afford this property. You should be aware if it is the landlord or yourself who is responsible for the utilities, and if any installation is necessary, who pays the cost. Find out if you are responsible for the maintenance of the building. You want to know exactly what you are getting into before you sign the lease.

Continue to Negotiate

Though the terms of the lease are acceptable, you might still prefer some changes in the language to have a more ideal office space for your business. There may be room to negotiate some of the terms to make them even more favorable to you. Maybe you are happy with the rent, but would like a cap on any increase if you decide to renew your lease once it expires. Perhaps there is no provision for an option to renew, and you would like that clause added. If you expect your business to grow, you might want to ask for a right of first refusal on the empty floor below.

Plan For Your Future Needs

You know your present property requirements. And this office space seems perfect for your business. But, you should also project your company’s future needs. If you expect your business to grow, you will want a physical location that matches this expectation and an office space for this anticipated growth. But, maybe you cannot afford the initial cost of such a large office space, so you are opting for something smaller. In that case, you might try to negotiate the five-year lease on the smaller office space down to two years. And, also take into account the future economic outlook for this area. Research for any planned development projects which may have an impact on the success of your business. Though there are always unpredictable factors, after careful evaluation and forecasting, you can make your very best commercial lease decision and sign an agreement that hopefully will meet your expectations and give you the right office space. 

A Lawyer Can Help With Your Commercial Office Space Lease

Before you sign a lease agreement, it is a good idea to get the help of a real estate attorney in your area. A commercial real estate lawyer can look over your lease agreement to make sure there are no unfavorable or harmful clauses in your lease, possibly suggest adding beneficial provisions, and see that your rights as a tenant are fully protected by the lease terms.