Your Space

It sounds sim­ple enough to iden­tify the space you’re leas­ing. But does it include hall­ways, bath­rooms, work­rooms, etc.? In order to avoid con­fu­sion, it’s best to include a draw­ing of the leased space and attach it as an exhibit. You might want to get an aer­ial pho­to­graph of the area. If you’re pay­ing by square footage, you’ll want to get measurements.

Com­mon Areas

These are the areas that all ten­ants and guests can use. You’ll want to include these on the map talked about above. Then you and the land­lord need to agree on who is respon­si­ble for main­tain­ing these areas and the extent of the main­te­nance. If you’re shar­ing these costs with the land­lord and other ten­ants, make sure you under­stand the for­mula and that the for­mula is worked into your budget.


You’ll want plenty of park­ing for you, your employ­ees, and cus­tomers. This is another item to include on your map.


You want peo­ple to see your busi­ness. Your signs play an impor­tant part in your mar­ket­ing effort. Find out if there are lim­i­ta­tions on size, color, loca­tion, etc. If there aren’t any lim­i­ta­tions, you should decide what sort of sign you want, then make sure you include the spec­i­fi­ca­tions in the lease.


These are things you add to the lease, but don’t become a part of the struc­ture. At the end of the lease it’s easy to have mis­un­der­stand­ing about what stays with the struc­ture and what you can take with you. If you make alter­ations, improve­ments, or repairs, you might want to take some of these with you when the lease ends. This requires you to alter the struc­ture. Fig­ure out how you want to han­dle this at the end of the lease.

The Land

Your lease sits on land. Some­times you’ll store items on the land. If you sus­pect that the land has envi­ron­men­tal issues (such as with a gas sta­tion or ware­house), then con­sider get­ting an envi­ron­men­tal assess­ment of the land from an envi­ron­men­tal con­sult­ing firm. Then you’ll have a bench­mark on the prop­erty. If you don’t sus­pect that haz­ardous activ­ity occurred on the prop­erty, still get a war­ranty from the land­lord that the land is free from such activity.


Your lease includes much you don’t see: wiring, plumb­ing, roof, side­walks, HVAC, grease traps, etc. You don’t notice these things when they’re run­ning right, but if some­thing goes wrong, you’ll know it soon enough. Faulty plumb­ing can cause a mess for you and your busi­ness. A leak in the roof can be mis­er­able. When these things hap­pen it’s good to know who is respon­si­ble to make things right, who will pay for it, and how long it will take.


Along with struc­tural items there are the main ser­vices you need to oper­ate your busi­ness: elec­tric­ity, ele­va­tors, heat, water, HVAC, wi-fi, phone, IT, jan­i­to­r­ial ser­vices, snow removal, etc. You want these ser­vices unin­ter­rupted. If for some rea­son they’re inter­rupted, your lease can spec­ify who’s respon­si­ble to get them back up run­ning, how fast they need to do it, and who’s going to pay for it.


You oper­ate cer­tain ser­vices or you cre­ate prod­ucts. Clients and cus­tomers come to your space. Some­times you sell things. What­ever you do, make sure that your lease allows you to do it in all the loca­tions you need to do it.