“Help! I have signed a heads of agreement and now the landlord won’t let me negotiate the lease.”
It’s surprising how many people sign heads of agreement, or letters of offer, for retail premises without having them legally reviewed. Often they contain clauses that require you to sign the landlord’s standard lease without amendments. With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to publish a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when negotiating a retail lease.
It can be difficult and confusing to know what to look for when it comes to entering into a shopping centre lease agreement. There are many aspects of the lease that should be reviewed, and often negotiated. Below are a couple of useful tips:
- Include a clause in the heads of agreement/offer document which will allow you the opportunity to review and negotiate the lease document and obtain legal advice.
- Are your lease premises clear? Make sure you are provided with a detailed plan of your leased area including any delivery, parking and rubbish facilities. It is also important to take note of shared walkways and kiosk areas so that you don’t end up clashing with another tenant after putting all your time and effort into your retail store!
- What are the hours of access of the Centre, including outside of trading hours?
- What fit out regulations does the Shopping Centre have? It will be a big problem if your store design does not meet the Centre’s requirements – and you are vulnerable if any redecorating you do requires the Centre’s permission.
- Do you have to contribute some extra money on top of your rent to the Shopping Centre’s overall marketing and promotions? Make sure it is clear what you will be required to pay and whether these amounts increase over time.
- What are the Shopping Centre’s long term plans in relation to expansion and development? Could they impact your trading?
- Are there any relocation provisions? If so, who has to cover these costs? What happens to your fitout if it won’t fit in the new store?
Reference: Business Government Website