Generally, a lease is a legal agreement that allows to use a building, a piece of equipment or some land for a period of time, usually in return for rent. Lease, in terms of law, is a contract whereby, for a consideration (usually termed rent), one who is entitled to the possession of real property transfers such rights to another for life, for a term of years, month to month or at will. Office lease can be short (3-18 months) or long (several years). Traditional lease, for example, in Manhattan, is generally for space requirements of 1,000 feet, lease term of 2 years. However, office lease can become the point at issue in tenant-landlord dealings.
What is the rentable square footage in the office space? Is rent based on usable or rentable square footage in the office space? What is the commencement date of the lease for the office space? Is there rent abatement, monetary damages, right to cancel the lease, or other remedies specified for the office space? Does the office space landlord have the right to terminate early than the termination date of the office lease without cause? This is a short checklist of office space lease issues to consider when negotiating an office space lease.
If to consider office leasing as a process, an office lease is like a partnership in that it sets out the parameters of a business relationship. When everything goes as planned, most any office lease will serve the parties well, but the true test occurs when some problems in the relationship arise. If the office lease has not been carefully drafted, it is a major problem for one or the other of the parties. Tenants often lose sight of the fact that the "Standard for office space lease" represents the landlord's "wish list" and, if not appropriately modified, may not serve their interests when issues arise. On the other hand, a sophisticated tenant will often request changes to the office lease that, if not fully understood, can cause unforeseen difficulties for the landlord as well. The potential for adversity can result from many things. The focus of the office lease negotiations is typically directed toward the issues of base rent and concessions. A host of other important concerns remain that are often overlooked, misunderstood or under-negotiated, even by sophisticated landlords, tenants and their real estate representatives.
Landlords, no doubt, are much more experiences in leasing office space and commercial real estate, because they lease over and over again, whereas a tenant may rent office space only few times in his corporate life. Successful negotiations for office space require knowledge and empathy with regard to the significant issues faced by the opposing party with office space.
So, in order to avoid costly mistakes, here are some suggestions:
understand the office space lease process, from beginning to end ... it is not rocket science, just good business practices;
understand key office space and commercial real estate terms (innocent tenants should know the terms of the office lease in order not to suffer a failure and losses while dealing with trained landlords).