The following is a useful list of items that should be clarified between the parties in the lease of a commercial building:
- What is the amount of usable space? Since the rent may be based on a square foot rate, the rate may be quoted on a rentable or a usable area. Rentable space means the actual office area, plus a proportionate share of facilities and corridors that service the floor on which the office is located. This concept is used in most buildings. Usable space is the actual space located within the walls of the office and excludes any part of the service facilities.
- Who pays the broker’s commission? Maybe the broker has been working for the tenant, but the fee is usually paid by the lessor. Often the lessor has hired the broker to represent them in the negotiation. The lease should reflect the obligation and who will pay it.
- On what basis is electric current or other utilities paid? The tenant usually will pay for their utilities. However, it can be computed in two different ways. It could be a flat rate added to the rent. Sometimes, each office is provided with its own meter and charged only for the actual consumption of the utilities.
- What services will be provided? There are several services in a building. There may be elevator service, air conditioning, restroom maintenance, and parking that is available to tenants or will be rented. The tenant’s right to use these services and the limitations should be spelled out.
- Is there a “most-favored tenant” clause? If a tenant moves into a new building that is only partially filled, they may demand a clause in the lease that will give them the benefits of any rental concessions that the landlord may subsequently make in order to obtain tenants.