Reading the Lease: The Four Corners
Maybe there’s a reason we have lawyers. Have you ever heard the expression, “If it’s not contained in the four corners of the document, then it isn’t so?” What most lawyers mean by that expression is if the document you are relying on doesn’t clearly define or discuss an issue, then it isn’t part of the deal. What is more complex to the average tenant than the lease? Those thirty-forty pages of legal jargon that describe just about every evil thing a landlord can do during the term if you so much as sway off the track need to be given your attention.
Negotiate your lease. You sign contracts for many items your business is involved in, yet more often than not tenants sign the landlord’s standard lease form with little more than a review of the basic terms, such as start date, termination date, and rent. It’s better to take a more careful look at the body of the lease. Hopefully, your broker knows enough about leases to help you save on some legal expenses and your attorney can simply give his final blessing.
It is not unusual for us at IN/House to suggest 40-50 modifications to a lease and actually get 90-95% of those changes.
Over the next few chapters, we’ll go over some of the more serious (and, in some cases the more humorous) lease clauses and modifications we’ve seen.