Should You Use a Lawyer When Negotiating a Lease?

If you are a prospective tenant, the process of looking for, and securing, an office space can be complicated. Searching for an office space that suits your business needs is simply the first leg of the journey. In a previous blog post, I addressed how to navigate that search, using both foresight and a proactive approach.  Once you’ve found an office that you’re excited about, how should you then proceed with the negotiation of the lease terms? Should you go it alone, and rely on the counsel of your broker and your own business common sense? Or, should you employ the services of a lawyer to ensure that you maximize the potential of your office space? You may find yourself wondering if a lawyer’s expertise is really worth the additional expense.

In LandlordTenantLawfirms, Janet Portman gives her opinion about the matter, saying that a tenant could truly benefit from bringing a lawyer to the table. During the negotiations, the lawyer  serves as a mediator between the tenant and landlord. If the tenant is unfamiliar with the legal jargon within the lease, the lawyer can assist as a type of translator, by decoding the legal language for the tenant. Also, the lawyer has a trained eye, which can identify extraneous  terms within the lease that can be eliminated. For example, in the article, Portman presents a hypothetical scenario in which a tenant, named “Andrew,” is in the process of negotiating the terms of a lease. Portman writes, “[Andrew’s lawyer] explained the legal gobbledygook, suggested how Andrew could rewrite some clauses to meet his objections, and discussed some of the new issues that needed to be addressed. [She] offered to prepare a letter to the landlord’s lawyer, summarizing changes that Andrew would like to make. For negotiating purposes, the letter included some requests (such as “Landlord will provide daily janitorial services”) that Andrew could easily drop if he needed to.” Clearly, a lawyer can be an asset to the tenant who wants to craft the best possible lease for their office space.

So, when during the process should you hire a lawyer? According to Portman, a tenant should use a lawyer earlier on in the process, rather than later. If a lawyer applies their expertise and legal finesse right from the start, the tenant minimizes their chances of overlooking any discrepancies within the lease. If  you want a peace of mind and a lease that allows you to make the most use out of your office, then introduce a lawyer to your team. Article


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