Finding the perfect office space is just the start of getting the best lease for your company. Without a fair lease agreement, you could find yourself faced with unexpected costs, paying too much for your space or restricted in ways that interfere with your daily operations. To ensure that you are signing the right lease on the perfect space, follow these tips:
1. Consider the Length
Landlords incentivize longer lease agreements because keeping you in your space for as long as possible is advantageous. In some cases, agreeing to remain in your space for several years can be a smart business decision, giving you the ability to save big on your monthly rent; however, signing a lease that is too long can be problematic. Should you require more or less space in the future or need to relocate, you could find yourself trapped and facing costly fees. Before you begin to negotiate, take the time to evaluate your current business needs and to think about the future. When are you likely to grow or need to move, if ever?
2. Do Some Homework
Before you sign any lease, get to know the market in your area. What are other tenants paying for spaces similar to yours? Go into the negotiation knowing what the going rate is to ensure that you are getting a fair deal. Also, fight to have rent increases at renewal included in your current lease. This way, you won't find yourself facing a steep, unfair increase in price just to stay in your space at the end of the term.
3. Evaluate All of the Costs
When you are considering how much it will cost you to rent a space, it's important to think about what's not listed on the lease as well as the costs that the contract outlines. Find out what reimbursements and additional costs you will need to pay to the landlord on top of the monthly rent.
Also, inquire about who is responsible for systems maintenance and repairs. If those costs will come out of your pocket, ask for information about the age and condition of the systems, so you can predict how likely you are to be investing heavily in their upkeep. Inquire about how utilities are calculated--will you have your own meter or be responsible for a certain percentage of the utility costs for the whole building? You should also find out if you will have to pay any special taxes or fees to occupy space at your location.
4. Pay Careful Attention to the End of the Lease
Make sure that you understand what steps you will need to take to renew your lease. You may be required to notify your landlord if you wish to stay or only if you wish to move. Either way, the lease will identify a date by which you will need to take action.
Read over the termination clause carefully as well. Find out what penalties and costs you will be faced with if you do need to break the lease early for any reason.
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