Do I need a Franchise Attorney to review my LEASE?
In a word, YES! A commercial lease is the single most important document that can make or break your business. It contains a massive overall liability over a period of years. It is critical to understand not only your overall obligations but to get the best deal for your situation.
Yes, ALL Leases are negotiable! –even the so-called “forms”
In fact, most Landlords expect a prospective tenant, business owner or new franchisee to negotiate some or items.
If you have purchased a franchise, or any business that requires a commercial location, please have a business attorney review the lease, if nothing else to advise you of potential pitfalls and potential areas of negotiation.
Depending on the Client’s business acumen and comfort with their own review of the lease, what I do is look for those areas where it is likely to be a problem, which can put the tenant in default. The most notable is the time periods for everything from submitting plans, obtaining permits, finishing tenant- responsible improvements, to giving notice about any issues with the property or the Landlord….all those time periods are VERY important….2 days to give the Landlord notice of a big landlord problem, or lose all your rights, its not enough!
There are other important legal clauses that can be negotiated that most tenants don’t bother with, mainly dealing with damage to the premises, if the lease continues, whether there is rent abatement, whether there is a right for either party to cancel the lease, etc. If you have a big restaurant and lose 1/3 the premises, and are expected to continue the business as usual while repairs are being made, that’s a problem.
Another key issue in a lease is whether or not you can get a restriction that the Landlord will not allow any similar business in the complex; I always require this, particularly in large complexes where there is more often than not more than 1 of the same business.
These are just a few of the issues and there are may more. There are other areas specific to franchised businesses that a franchise attorney such as myself have has experience with in implementing in order to protect the franchise owner, particularly relating to the situation where a franchise owner is in default or is terminated or their franchise term expires, and in transfer situations.
Contact me for your lease review and negotiation and you may save many thousands in problems later.