A commercial lease can be quite lengthy in time, and as a physical document. As I mentioned earlier, starting with a strong Letter of Intent and proposal will have helped determine negotiation points early on, so drafting and negotiating the lease can be an easier process. It will still probably take a few months, after which you should have a lease that’s ready to review and sign. We were so excited to get our lease after what seemed like so much waiting, but we weren’t totally done with the process yet!
Reviewing the Coffee Shop Lease
Why is taking time to review your lease so important? Everything that’s important to you as a business needs to be in here–in writing, as it’s a legally binding guideline to your relationship with your landlord. If you sign a lease for a certain term, you’re entering a binding relationship for this long– so know what you’re getting into, because you don’t want to be stuck in a bad relationship. And this is a pretty serious document, because if you can’t pay your rent, there’s a personal guarantee on you and you’ll be stuck paying the lease for the full amount of the term. It’s important to know, because you’re responsible.
As you review, take the time to understand everything in your lease and all included terms. Clarify anything with your broker, and then invest in a lawyer to look over the lease to offer his/her professional opinion. Our lawyer had a flat service fee for lease reviews. We asked him what we didn’t understand, brought forth any concerns, and after he went through the lease, we listened to his concerns and opinions. We redlined our changes to send back to our landlord, and after going back and forth tying up the loose ends and perfecting the lease until we both felt comfortable, it was finally ready to sign!
Executing the Lease
Getting that final copy felt so good! We briefly read through it again one last time, and met up with our broker to sign and get the keys. Moving forward, it’s important to keep major lease agreements in mind, and even make a calendar of important payment or renewal dates.
We are official tenants of the coffee shop we’ve been working on, that we’ve started this blog to share about. We are so excited for what’s to come, and thankful to have you all as part of our story; there are many of you we couldn’t have done this without! Keep on the lookout this week as we are officially revealing our name, brand, future location and estimated opening season. Follow us on Dream|a|Latte Instagram to receive those first updates! The adventure continues, but there’s no turning back at this point!