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5 Secrets Landlords Don’t Want You To Know

Dealing with commercial landlords and commercial real estate agents can be a challenge.  They are usually sophisticated and they spend all day thinking and talking about leases, tenants, shopping centers and other real estate matters. 

Below are a few things that you need to know about commercial landlords.

1.  They need you more than you need them.  Landlords and commercial real estate agents go to great lengths to create "demand" for their space, typically by telling potential tenants that there are other people interested in the space or by simply being difficult to reach or return calls.  Don't let them fool you – they need rent revenue at least as much as you need the space.

2.  Everything is negotiable.  Landlords will start with their own lease form, which is fine, and will often try a "take it or leave it" attitude to terms in the lease.  Don't accept that – all of the terms are at least open for discussion and you should never enter into a lease with terms with which you are not comfortable.  If you want something changed, ask for it.

3.  Landlords will often throw in a free rental period, especially for the time when you are setting up your space.  It is possible to get 1, 2 or more months of tenancy for no rent if you negotiate for it upfront.  Start by asking for a "rent abatement" for the amount of time it will take for you to set up the space and until you're open for business.

4.  Landlords will often contribute financially to the cost of modifying the space to fit your needs.  This is called a "build out" allowance and can save you a significant amount of money up front.

5.  Landlords are often willing to limit your liability under the lease in the event of default.  It's not a foregone conclusion that you will be responsible for the entire term of the lease if you know to ask for a cap on potential liability. 

Are you considering leasing commercial space?  It's important to handle the negotiations correctly from the beginning and we can help.  Call us today at 804-290-7990 to discuss other crucial points to consider in your commercial lease.


Bernie Dietz is committed to answering your questions about business transactional law issues in Virginia.

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