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Negotiate renovations carefully in a commercial lease

When it comes to commercial leases, the good news is that most of the terms are negotiable. However, the more difficult news is that certain issues require careful negotiation if you hope to avoid fines or legal repercussions. This is particularly true when it comes to making changes to a property that you lease.

While a landlord or owner may allow you to make renovations or improvements to a property, it is usually unwise to begin making these changes without the expressed permission of the owner. There should also be a detailed understanding between all parties of what changes you intend to make, how they may affect the property overall (especially if the property includes other tenants) and the steps that you must take to return the property to its original condition when you leave the space.

It is also important to consider who will pay for the work that gets done and who is in charge of choosing and approving the various contractors who do the work. While you don't want to smother the process of launching the space in fine print, it is absolutely vital that you work out all of these issues ahead of time to avoid costly, frustrating miscommunication.

If you use all your resources and available guidance wisely, you may even succeed at convincing the owner to assume some of the cost of the renovations, if it is sufficiently beneficial to him or her. A strong legal strategy and a keen eye for detail in your contracts can keep you focused on the business of your commercial enterprise as well as keep your rights and privileges protected while you work to make your dream a reality.

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  1. Charles W. Dobbins, Jr.

    Charles earned his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia in 1974

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