Depending on the total value of the lease, it is advisable to get your own legal review of the lease and not depend on the legal review of your broker or your broker’s firm. Although brokers may have extensive experience with leases, they are not lawyers. An experienced real estate attorney hired by you would represent your best interests.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you may want to hire a lawyer to review your lease:
1. To ensure that your lease is accurate. Commercial lease agreements can be large documents that contain overlooked information. A good lawyer is more likely to catch issues within the contract than a landlord or property management company.
2. See through the landlord bias. Since lease agreements favor the landlord, a lawyer can help you understand why certain conditions are in place, and explore avenues for negotiating these areas.
3. Sometimes, lawyers can negotiate better terms for you. Do you want to make sure that the landlord doesn’t rent out the neighboring commercial space to your competition, or to a business that may disrupt yours? There are certain conditions you may want to include on a lease agreement that you may need an attorney for.
4. Lawyers can double-check the terms for you. Since commercial real estate leases can be major commitments, it’s not a bad idea to have a lawyer help you make sure there’s nothing you’re missing in the contract.
When something comes up that affects your lease, your attorney can help you understand and rectify the situation, especially if they were the one who originally reviewed the lease. Hiring a lawyer shows the landlord that you’re serious, and determined to have a fair transaction. They’ll be less likely to overreach when it comes to leasing terms if they know you have a lawyer on your side who could potentially initiate legal action.
Entering a major contract for 5, 10, or even 20 years can be risky without legal help. A lawyer who has expertise in commercial real estate is an important asset to a business’ transition team. A typical lease agreement is 40 pages long — there is a lot of room for language that can skew toward the landlord. Landlords often have attorneys, so it’s a good idea for tenants to have one, too. Though a broker may be able to help you understand your lease agreement, a lawyer can dive into the language and find any issues in a more refined way.