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What to know about renting commercial space

Business owners who decide to rent a commercial space will typically need to sign a lease. While landlords may have standard lease agreements, you do not have to accept boilerplate terms. Instead, it is generally a good idea to negotiate a custom agreement. The lease itself should state how much the tenant owes, how long the lease runs for and the rights and responsibilities of each party.

For example, the lease could state that the landlord is responsible for making improvements to the property by a certain date. Ideally, a tenant will not sign a lease that starts before he or she plans to start operating from that space. Otherwise, the tenant could be paying for a building that won't generate any money for the company. In some cases, a landlord may hold off on accepting the first rent check until a building is in use.

A lease should specify whether a tenant has access to an entire building or just a portion of it. There will also likely be clauses in the contract that deal with subletting a space as well as who pays for taxes and insurance. The tenant may be required to provide security for a building as well as figure out who has access to the building at any given time.

Those who are interested in leasing commercial real estate may benefit by working with an attorney. This may make it easier to negotiate a favorable lease or better understand the terms of their current arrangement. Legal counsel may be able to help a person renegotiate the terms of a lease or exit it before it is set to end. If a landlord files a lawsuit, an attorney may be able to represent a tenant in court or during settlement talks.

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