Nov 20, 2019

7 Things to Ask Before Signing an Office Lease

By Don Catalano


7 Things to Ask Before Signing an Office Lease
When the pressure to complete the leasing process is high, you're likely to find yourself anxious to sign; however, doing so too quickly can lead to hidden costs and hassles in the future. Asking these questions before you sign can help to ensure that you're getting the best deal.


1. What Exactly is Included in the CAM?

Common area maintenance fees cover the costs of maintaining shared areas of the building. Although they are a common feature of leases, what they include can vary widely. That's why it's important to ask exactly what you're paying for and ensure the lease provides a written breakdown as well.


2. How Do You Calculate Load Factor?

The load factor is used to determine how much rentable square footage you will be charged for and includes both the office space that you are occupying and a percentage of shared areas. Landlords can use a number of methods to arrive at this figure. Ask to have it explained to you and then check the math. Also, inquire about what exactly is included in the shared area, staying on the lookout for places where the landlord may have padded the numbers.


3. How are Rent Escalations Calculated?

Landlords can arrive at new rent rates a number of ways. Make sure you know what method your landlord uses, how often your rent can increase and if there are any caps to prevent skyrocketing costs.


4. What Services are Provided Under This Lease?

Ask the landlord to provide details about all of the services that are provided to you and which services you are responsible for. Services to consider include cleaning, plant care, security and waste removal.


5. Are there systems in place to ensure wireless connectivity throughout the building?

Your employees likely use more than just desktop computers on a daily basis, making it important that they can connect their laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices in your office and throughout the rest of the building. Find out if the building uses distributed antenna system networks or other systems to enhance connectivity for tenants.


6. What Type of Signage am I Entitled To?

Most leases restrict the type and location of signage landlords may use. Make sure you know what these restrictions are before you sign the lease.


7. What Protections are My Company Afforded Under this Lease?

In the event the landlord faces financial trouble and defaults on a loan, you don't want to find your company suddenly being forced to move. Having a non-disturbance or recognition clause added to the lease can help to ensure your company will be protected in the future.


Bonus Tip: Having a tenant rep broker by your side can help to ensure that you get all of the information you need to make an informed decision. Tenant reps can get you inside offices that you otherwise wouldn't be able to tour and help to match your needs with the perfect space. During the negotiation process, a tenant representative will remain by your side, acting as your advocate to ensure you get the best possible deal. Because the landlord pays the broker's fees, using one won't mean adding any additional costs to the leasing process.


Here are a few other articles to check out:

5 Things to Beware of In Your Office Lease

7 Ways to Get a More Flexible Office Lease

What to Know About The Lease Extension Clause


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Topics: office lease

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Don Catalano

Don Catalano