Commercial leases are typically viewed as contracts between knowledgeable business people. Consequently, less governmental protection is available for tenants of commercial property than tenants of residential property. Because the parties are knowledgeable business people, the underlying belief is that they should be able to negotiate the terms of the lease to their liking. Consistent with this idea, the parties of a commercial lease typically have greater bargaining power and more negotiating ability than the parties of a residential lease.

Commercial leases come in three main forms: full service leases, net leases, and modified gross leases.

The process of identifying, negotiating, and signing a commercial lease is a long process and it’s important to understand the required steps.

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A commercial lease typically deals with the following:

  • the type of property being rented;
  • the address of the property being rented;
  • the term of the tenancy and whether the tenancy is for a fixed term or renews periodically;
  • the amount of rent payable, how often and when the rent should be paid;
  • the type of business that may be conducted on the premises;
  • ownership of any leasehold improvements; and
  • the provisions of any security/damage deposit.

  • In addition, a commercial lease may also identify the following:
  • provisions for lease renewal;
  • landlord improvements and signing incentives;
  • tenant improvements;
  • whether the tenant can assign or sublet the property:
  • notice provisions for termination of the tenancy; and
  • insurance provisions.
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