Tip Sheet for Commercial Leasing Transactions

By on June 18, 2018

Executive Summary of an article written by
Jill Hayman, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

For various reasons, leasing space is more advantageous than buying space, so commercial leasing transactions are part of every thriving business. An advantageous lease adds value; a disadvantageous one is a burden. Leases are packed with detailed provisions that translate into substantial amounts of money and potential disruptions to the operation of your business. A vital but often overlooked factor in securing the best possible lease is the quality of client-attorney communication. No matter which side of the deal you are on, it is essential to clearly stipulate what you need from your legal team.

Landlords should begin with a first draft that contains clauses that are balanced in treating the landlord’s and the tenant’s respective interests. Tenants with any degree of leverage should request a balanced first draft before final rental terms are agreed. Ask that documents be written in plain English without redundancies. Both you and your counter party will want to understand your rights and obligations without having to go back to your lawyers for a translation.

Be explicit as to whether you want a memo of open points after each round of negotiations and the level of detail you expect. Set realistic deadlines for your legal team. They are preparing an intellectual work product and need time to read, analyze and articulate the business risks you face. Confirm that your lawyer understands how utilities are delivered and priced to ensure you are not left covering unreasonable costs.

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