Dos & Don'ts

Get Right to Use Space for Non-Sales Purposes

August 28, 2018    

So much retail business is done online that it’s common for tenants that are pulling in profits that way to use their brick-and-mortar spaces for purposes related to the business, but not to actually sell products. For example, depending on your business, if you have a successful website...

Avoid Persistent Audits of Kiosk Sales

August 28, 2018    

Shopping center or mall owners that grant licenses to kiosks and carts to conduct business there will want to audit the books and records of a set percentage of those kiosks and carts each year to verify their gross sales. It’s not uncommon for kiosks and carts to submit gross sales...

Ask Owner for Space's Loss Factor Figure

August 30, 2017    

If the size of the space you’re considering leasing seems perfect, don’t overlook important issues like making sure that your business actually will physically fit the area. Just because a space is advertised as a certain number of square feet doesn’t mean that all of that...

Don't Agree to Vague Automatic Renewal Clause

August 30, 2017    

If a right to renew your lease is very valuable to you, you might agree to an automatic renewal clause if that’s what the owner insists on. But if you don’t nail down the specifics of the automatic renewal’s terms it can work against you.

Ensure Owner Delivers on Incentives

August 30, 2017    

Guarantors who will back up the obligation of tenants who default on their leases are widely used for commercial real estate deals. But don’t forget that tenants aren’t the only parties that guaranties apply to. Getting a great deal on space is fantastic for tenants, but if you...

Don't Get Trapped Into Unpredictable Renewal Rent

March 29, 2017    

You may think that you’ve won if you’ve negotiated a renewal option in your lease, which is a valuable right to many tenants. The downside is that many renewal options don’t specify what the renewal rent will be; they refer only to “the fair market rate.” If that...

Use 'Abandon' Not 'Vacate' in Default Provision

March 29, 2017    

It’s crucial to choose most words in your lease carefully, but some are even more important than others—if they would determine whether you’ve defaulted on the lease. If you and the owner agree that giving up your space prematurely will trigger a lease default or another lease...

Stay Out of Shadow of Other Tenant's Advertising

January 31, 2017    

Many commercial leases include language that limits the size of billboards and signage on the roof or exterior, or in the common areas of the office building or shopping center. But tenants sometimes forget to negotiate restrictions on the content of those billboards and signs. It’s a...

Don't Get Stuck with Inaccurate Water Bills

January 31, 2017    

Disputes over things as seemingly insignificant as the amount of utility bills at a commercial property can result in protracted litigation. Water costs are especially confusing; an owner’s failure to install water meters for each unit on the property and bill tenants individually for...

Don't Let Owner Pass Through Off-Site Traffic Improvement Costs

October 31, 2016    

If, like many shopping center tenants, your owner provides off-site traffic improvements, you should try to avoid paying for that. After all, these improvements—for example, special signage and lighting in areas leading to the property or a way to control the flow of vehicles into and out...

Ask Owner to Specify Laws in Lease

October 31, 2016    

If you’re a tenant with a higher risk of causing environmental damage—such as a dry cleaner—than a traditional retailer, you’ll have to follow specific guidelines and be subject to certain environmental laws that other tenants aren’t. But allowing the owner of the...

Don't Take Weather Precautions without Consulting Attorney

August 22, 2016    

Some tenants put out “wet floor” signs during rainy or snowy weather to warn customers about slippery conditions to watch out for. It’s important to be cognizant of potential areas for liability, but you should also consult your attorney about what precautions you should take...