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Issues to consider before signing a commercial lease

Getting your new business off the ground can be an exciting yet challenging endeavor. Finding the right premises is an essential part of this process. However, before you sign off on your new lease, there are a few matters you should think about.

Ohio landlord-tenant law treats commercial and residential tenants very differently. In addition to potential issues with the lease itself, you may need to deal with other legal and practical considerations.

Does your lease contain unpleasant surprises

Read your lease very carefully. Unlike typical residential rental agreements, commercial leases have fewer constraints and may be less likely to simply contain the usual boilerplate language. Landlords may include clauses that limit the ways in which you may use the space. Do the terms of your lease affect your ability to develop your business according to your plans?

Other lease terms to watch out for may include penalties for late payment, early termination or other possible contingencies. Many commercial landlords offer five-year or longer term leases. As it can be impossible to predict how your business needs may change even a year from now, does the lease offer any way for you to get out early?

How do local zoning codes affect your business

Before you sign your lease, you also need to make sure there are no other factors that would interfere with your ability to operate your business. Zoning laws may present a challenge. First of all, you need to ascertain the zoning of the area where you plan to rent. Factors that can influence this include the likely volume of traffic and noise your business will generate. Businesses that stay open late, serve alcohol or play music may face additional challenges.

Did you secure all necessary permits, licenses and certificates

You also need to ensure you complete the necessary paperwork and obtain all the licenses you need. An experienced attorney in your area can help by reviewing all the documents involved and advising you as to applicable laws and regulations.

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