Most business premises are rented, where the lease, which contains the terms and conditions is entered into between the tenant and the landlord.
Leases are usually drawn up in standard format and are mostly geared towards protecting the landlord’s interests. The lease terms and conditions are not normally open to negotiation but do not be afraid to question any provisions that you may consider to be unfair or prejudicial to yourself.
It is unlikely that a lease agreement will always protect both parties, so be aware of some potential pitfalls:
- Be sure that proper renewal option terms after the initial lease period are clearly stated in the lease as a business without a lease is not in business.
- Be aware that if you waive your claim against the landlord in respect if an interruption in service supply, i.e. electricity, water etc, and the landlord fails to pay the relevant authorities, you will have no claim against the landlord should these services be terminated.
- Should the Landlord indemnifies himself against any wrongful or negligent conduct by himself or his representative, you have no recourse.
- Be sure that the Landlord notifies you and gives you the opportunity to rectify any breaches or your lease could be terminated without consultation or notice.
- Be aware of clauses that entitle the landlord to make changes to the property, without prior consultation, and thereby causing you to be inconvenienced and prejudiced in terms of loss of business, without any compensation.
These are just a few examples and it is advisable to seek professional advice before signing a lease. Even if you are unable to renegotiate the terms of the lease, at least you will be made aware of the pitfalls.
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