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Commercial lease tips for small business owners

People must be catching on to how cool Portland is, because the area has seen an uptick in population and development in recent years. According to the World Population Review, the city has been growing by about 10,000 people annually since 2010, when the last census was taken.

With more people in the city, more commercial property has been popping up, as well. But, of course, the growth puts leases on such property at a premium.

In this post, we’ll discuss some things to keep in mind as a small business owner approaching the process of finding the right space and negotiating a suitable commercial lease.

Be aware that landlords of commercial spaces generally have the power to structure a lease practically however they like. As a small business owner, this means you need to pay close attention to the process of negotiating, reviewing, and signing a commercial lease in order to protect your interests.

There are several things commercial tenants should keep in mind before signing a lease. Look out for any clauses describing having to pay additional rent—make sure that the rent you were expecting to pay is what you will actually be paying. Also, beware of anything that says you are responsible for maintaining or making repairs to the property, as most would prefer that the landlord take care of it.

Another important thing to be aware of is if the lease says anything about indemnifying the landlord. This means that if you were to sue the landlord over the lease, you would be required to defend them. That doesn’t make much sense, does it? It is not wise to agree to such terms.

It is often a good idea when signing a new commercial lease to see if you can negotiate an initial improvement budget, meaning funds will be allocated for you to prepare the space to your liking. Also, see if you can negotiate being able to alter the premises, and if you are able to sublet or terminate the lease at will.

Navigating a commercial lease can be tough, but it is important for you to be vigilant to avoid being taken advantage of and to protect your business. If you are feeling uncertain, lost or afraid of being taken for a ride, reach out to an experienced attorney.


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