Feb 05th, 2019, By

What To Ask Before Signing a Commercial Office Lease

There's a lot to consider when you're touring prospective office spaces and talking to landlords. To make sure that you don't overlook an important detail, don't
forget to ask the following questions:

1. When Was This Building Built?

The age of the building will give you some insight into its condition. A newer building is less likely to require major repairs that could be passed onto you in the form of rent escalations or common area maintenance fees. If a building is older, ask when it was last renovated. It's also a good idea to ask the age of the key system like the HVAC and elevators.

2. Do You Allow Tenant Build Outs?

You'll want to know whether or not you'll have the ability to customize an office to meet your needs before you sign the lease. Ideally, ask this before you tour the space. This way, you won't be imagining improvements that can't be made.

3. How are Rent Escalations Calculated?

Most leases allow for rent increases either periodically or in response to certain events like increases in landlord costs or changes in the Consumer Price Index. Make sure you know when you can expect increases and if there is a cap on how much the rent can go up.

4. What is the CAM?

The Common Area Maintenance fee is assessed to you in addition to your rent and covers the cost of maintaining shared areas in the building. A landlord should be able to tell you the figure upfront and explain clearly how it was calculated.

5. What Type of Signage is our Company Permitted?

Most leases place restrictions on the size, type and location of signage used by tenants in buildings. You'll want to double check that your company's presence in the building will be promoted in a way that matches your marketing and advertising goals.

6. What is the Parking Ratio?

Don't assume that there will be adequate parking for your employees. In addition to finding out how many spaces are available for your team, inquire about how those spaces are reserved and what steps are taken to protect the parking facilities.

7. Who are the Other Tenants in the Building?

You don't want to move into the building only to find out that a competitor is your neighbor.

Also, consider how the other tenants match your own brand image. For example,
you may hesitate to move into a building that is only occupied by medical
professionals if you're in another line of business.

8. Do I Have the Right to Assign or Sublet?

Having the ability to assign your lease to a new tenant or sublet all or a portion of your space to another company can future proof the lease, ensuring that you can reduce costs if your business needs change in the future.

9. What is the Renewal Process?

Find out if you'll have the right to renew at the end of the lease and what steps need to be taken to notify the landlord that you intend to remain in the building.

10. What Amenities are Available?

You should also ensure that all the amenities that you require are not only available, but that they’re also easily accessible. Whether that be in-building or nearby, having amenities for your employees and clients is very important.

Here are some other articles to check out:

Top 10 Commercial Real Estate Terms You Need to Know

Utilizing Drones For Your Commercial Real Estate

5 Commercial Real Estate Concerns You Should Know

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