Five Questions to Ask a Commercial Lawyer Before Signing a Lease for Your New Restaurant

Law Blog

If you plan to start a new restaurant, you may want to consult with a commercial lawyer through the process. These professionals can help you ensure that you have structured your business correctly and that you are minding employment laws and following other relevant statutes. In particular, commercial lawyers can also help you assess the lease agreement before you start a lease for your restaurant.

1. How are rent increases calculated?

Many commercial leases -- whether you are leasing a restaurant or a hat boutique -- have automatic rent increases built into the lease. Have your lawyer explain to you how the rent increases are calculated so that you know what to expect. For example, the rent may increase by a certain percentage or it may only increase if market rents in the area increase.

2. Can you carry out a restaurant business in this space?

You have to ensure that you can legally run a restaurant in the space you are leasing. Are you allowed to cook? Is the ventilation system set up to handle commercial cooking? Are there adequate fire alarms? Is the property zoned correctly for commercial use?

All of this needs to be outlined in the lease, and your lawyer can make sure that it's spelled out correctly.

3. Are there time restrictions on the use of the facility?

In some cases, especially if you are leasing a space in a building with lots of other commercial spaces, there may be restrictions on when you can use the area. You need to ensure that you can use the space during the hours that you need it, and make sure that includes the hours you want your business to be open as well as the time your chefs and waiters need to set up in the morning or close down in the evening.

4. Can you modify the space?

In most cases, you will need to make some modifications to the space you are leasing. These modifications may include adding stoves, ovens or other accessories, or they may include decorative changes to the dining room. Regardless of what type of changes you want to make, review the lease carefully to ensure you can make them.

5. When do you start paying rent?

Finally, you need to know when you are expected to start paying rent. In some cases, you may have to pay rent as soon as the lease starts. In other cases, you may be allowed to move into the facility and get set up, but not pay rent until you're open for customers.

Before signing any commercial lease agreement, consult with a commercial lawyer. They can help you negotiate a great lease and understand the logistics and ramifications of what you are signing.


7 September 2016

Unknown laws you might not know

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