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Zoning restrictions can complicate commercial leases

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2018 | commercial real estate

Searching for the ideal location for your next commercial venture can be both exciting and infuriating, depending on your needs and the properties available in your area. Unfortunately, commercial property is often located in areas with specific restrictions on what types of businesses may operate. These are known as zoning restrictions.

If you think that you’ve found the ideal spot for your business, make sure that you fully understand any zoning restrictions ahead of time. If you sign a lease before you examine and resolve these issues, you may be stuck with a lease for a property you cannot use.

For example, you may decide open a restaurant. You believe that you’ve found the perfect place. It has the right layout, is located in an area with excellent foot traffic and it is close to a neighborhood that fits the tone you’re looking for. On top of that, the price is reasonable.

But don’t sign on the bottom line just yet. Even if you’re taking over a space that another restaurant previously held, that does not mean that the space is zoned for a restaurant. It is entirely possible that the previous tenant obtained a variance on the zoning. A variance is an official exception to zoning restrictions, giving a tenant freedom to operate in a way that zoning otherwise would not allow.

Navigating zoning issues is rarely simple, but it is a crucial part of evaluating any commercial lease. Do not overlook this important step when protecting your rights as you search for the perfect space for your next venture, wherever that may take you.