As a small business owner you will be faced with a lease sooner or later in your business cycle. This will mean thinking of renting an office somewhere.
The reality is that eventually you will outgrow your initial place of start up. This may be your bedroom, study or garage.
A search for office space will then begin. This can be daunting so don’t hesitate to contact us early on for some advice.
Once you decide on a place they will create a Heads Of Agreement. You should ask a lawyer to review this before you sign it.
The commercial real estate agent will then arrange to present you with a lease and ask you to sign it.
You can do a couple of things at this point – sign it or else call a commercial lawyer for advice.
We understandably for a variety of reasons would prefer you did the latter, especially if it is your first time.
The main reason is that leases are no longer generally proforma documents, but lengthy complicated and complex ones.
These leases are ones landlords and their lawyers, quite rightly customise for the benefit of the landlord’s interests as opposed to the tenants i.e yours.
A lease nowadays can easily top 30 pages in length. They have a variety of different types of clauses that deal with a myriad of issues.
Thinking Of Renting An Office
The other thing you need to keep in mind is whether the lease is regulated by law e.g in New South Wales, by the Retail Leases Act.
This prescribes the parties relative legal obligations to one another in a manner in which if it is not followed can expose either or both parties to sanctions and penalties.
The sorts of things I would be on the look out for should be the things you agreed to with the real estate agent.
Remember that Heads of Agreement document.
At the very least you should ensure what has been previously agreed to is in your lease.
Indeed at this point of time, the agent will normally ask you for your solicitor’s details.
I see many new small business owners go at it alone without legal representation at this time.
It’s best to stick to what you know best and call a lawyer.
Our advice is get your legal advice sooner rather than later.
Paul Ippolito is an experienced commercial lawyer who can assist you with your retail & commercial leases.
He has lectured in commercial and property law at The College Of Law for over a decade.
He also has previously sat on The Law Society Of NSW’s Property Law committee.
We service the whole of the Sydney Metropolitan Area as well as regional NSW.
Contact us now to discuss your leasing matter.