Clients often think it a waste of time and money to retain an attorney to represent them in connection with leasing space, whether it be space in an office, a warehouse, or an entire building. More often than not, however, an attorney can obtain important concessions for the tenant, many of them monetary in nature. For example, real estate tax escalation clauses and annual rent increases can prove onerous and can often be negotiated, thus saving the client money. Usually, the value of the concessions gained will far exceed the legal fees incurred.
It is also extremely important for a client to understand fully the implications of some important, yet typical, clauses which are contained in a commercial lease. For example, if the landlord will not permit an assignment or sublet of the space, it is extremely important to know that, in the event there is a business downturn and one needs to cut costs. Also, the tenant’s responsibility to repair and/or replace, as set forth in the lease, is critical. An attorney who is experienced in this matters will point out these important aspects.
A third reason why one should have an attorney review one’s lease is to bring professionalism and clout to the table. Landlords who are dealing with a tenant who has an attorney tend to take the tenant more seriously and will do so throughout the term of the lease. The landlord is less likely to try to take advantage of the tenant when he/she knows the tenant has legal representation.
Lastly, when a tenant deals directly with a new landlord, negotiating the terms of the lease becomes more personal and can start the landlord-tenant relationship off in a less-than-positive way. Having an attorney acts as a buffer, so that the negotiation becomes more businesslike and professional, preserving one’s relationship with the landlord.