Leasing a commercial space in the Bay Area is much more labor intensive than leasing a residential property. Before you choose a space to lease, you should find answers to the following questions:
- Who owns the property?
- Who is the landlord?
- Are there other tenants on the property?
- What types of leases are available (e.g., gross lease or single net lease)?
- What are the zoning laws in the area?
- What amenities exist on the property?
- Are you allowed to expand or make changes to the property?
- Is parking included?
Once you have decided to lease the property, be prepared to negotiate. Commercial leases often require extensive negotiations before the final agreement is signed. If you are entering into a commercial lease for an office or retail space, you should be aware of the terms and conditions often included in commercial leases. Here are some of the issues you may have to address in your lease.
Landlords and tenants may agree to a short-term or long-term lease, depending on the type of business you are running.
Tenants must pay a set amount of base rent each month, an amount usually based on square footage and not including operating expenses.
Use and exclusivity clauses
Even though you are leasing a space, you will likely not have full control over how it is used. A use clause will specify which business activities you can and cannot conduct on the property. An exclusivity clause may prevent other tenants from competing with you by stating that only you can offer a certain type of business or product.
Maintenance and utilities
The lease will specify who is responsible for property maintenance and utilities (e.g., gas or water), and making sure that the building complies with all regulations.
Your lease may include a clause specifying what you are allowed to change and improve upon on the property and who will pay for the renovations. For example, you may want to paint the walls, change the carpets or install new lighting.
As a business owner with a commercial lease, you will be involved in several business and commercial transactions over the years. Researching your options and seeking assistance when needed can help you maintain your success.