Finding the ideal office, warehouse or store to lease can be challenging for startup or growing companies in California and around the country. It can take business owners months to check local regulations, acquire necessary permits and negotiate lease terms, and there is often much still to do even after documents have been signed and keys handed over.
Prospective tenants generally inspect properties before leases are signed, but a second inspection should be conducted after the paperwork has been exchanged to ensure that landlords have addressed important issues. Most leases include a provision for such an inspection to take place within 30 days of occupancy. While landlords are expected to make repairs and ensure their properties are safe, certain upgrades, such as work needed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, are the responsibility of tenants. Inspectors should pay particular attention to wiring and plumbing, HVAC ductwork and fire prevention systems.
Once inspections have been performed and needed repairs have been completed, tenants should verify that all permits are in place and the proposed use of the property meets local zoning and land use requirements before moving in. Much of this work will likely have been done prior to the lease being signed, but additional permits or sign-offs may be needed if the property is to be modified in some way or for the machinery and equipment that will be brought in.
Attorneys with experience in commercial property leases may be able to help tenants avoid many of the pitfalls involved in renting a commercial property by addressing regulatory and legal issues in a timely manner. Attorneys could also provide lessees with abstracts that include key provisions such as the dates of any scheduled rent increases as well as the procedures for renewing or terminating the agreement.