Your business has grown, and you need more space to work. Renting an office can help you continue that growth and provide a home for your company and your employees. Once you find the perfect office, you negotiate the terms, and the landlord sends you the lease to sign.

Signing the lease can be an exciting moment for your business. But before you sign it, you should make sure that the lease protects you as much as it protects the landlord. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before signing:

  • Does the lease include all my terms? – Until you sign, you still have the opportunity to negotiate any provisions. Read the lease carefully, making sure that the landlord didn’t include any provision unfair to you.
  • How much do I have to pay for CAM? – Common area maintenance, or CAM, is the amount the landlord expects to pay to maintain the building. Your lease will include a fee for CAM based on how much of the building you rent. But your landlord may try to include things like legal fees or marketing for the building when calculating CAM and charge you a percentage.
  • Do I have to pay for major repairs? – Beyond everyday maintenance, buildings can have costs for major projects like roof or heating and cooling repairs. The lease may include a percentage of your responsibility for these projects. Make sure it is fair to you.
  • What happens if I no longer need the space? – While you hope to keep your business alive and growing, you may run into problems that lead you to shut down. Or you may become so successful that you sell your business and move the operations elsewhere. The lease should have provisions for breaking your lease or finding a new tenant.

Once you sign a lease, your landlord has a legal right to enforce any provisions. Don’t let an unfair lease affect the growth of your business.