When renting a retail space, is it common to get a month or 2 free while you move in and setup?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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When renting a retail space, is it common to get a month or 2 free while you move in and setup?

Also, if you signed a lease on a space that is in the process of a zoning change and the zone is not changed in your favor are you still liable for the lease? Is it common for commercial retail spaces to want first last and security and to sign a lease when it is still zoned residential?

Asked on January 31, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) It's not uncommon to get a month or two free rent, but there's no right or entitlement to it--it's whatever you and the landlord negotiate to.
2) If the lease does not contain a clause saying that you would be let out of your obligations due to a zoning or similar restriction, then, unfortuntely the answer would be yes--you would still be liable under the lease even if the zoning issue is decided against you. A lease is a contract; one you sign it, you are obligated to it unless the lease has a clause, term, or provision which would let you out.
3) Generally, commericial leases do request first, last, and security. It is not common, however, to sign a commercial lease for space not zoned commercial--it's legal to do so, but few people would, because of the obvious risks.
d on what you write, it would be very dangerous to sign this lease and give the landlord money unless the lease contains a provision allowing you out (and refunding at least part of your money) if the space does not end up getting zoned commercial. You can ask for this provision; if the landlord will not give it to you, it would be unwise to sign.

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