Negotiating your new lease

Bayleys will negotiate a lease of your preferred premises on your behalf through to execution of formal lease documentation and facilitate effective handover of your new accommodation and an orderly exit from your existing premises.

This part of the process requires focusing on the detail, ensuring obligations are formalised and delivered on, particularly where an upgrade or modification of premises is involved or there are fit-out works where documentation should clearly indicate who undertakes, pays for and owns these.

An Agreement to Lease will be required which will vary depending on the type of property involved but will include standard lease provisions plus any additional clauses that the tenant and/or landlord may wish to insert.

Bayleys is not in the business of providing legal advice but here are a couple of tips:

Use an experienced commercial property lawyer

Accommodation is generally a business’ second biggest outlay after staff costs so you can’t afford to get it wrong. A poorly drafted lease agreement could end up costing you a lot of money. Don’t assume that the lawyer who provides you with general commercial advice is the best person to advise on a lease agreement.

We recommend you use a lawyer who specialises in commercial and industrial property and/or handles a lot of commercial leasing transactions. It may cost a little more but given the substantial annual rental outlay involved in most leases, it is money well spent. An experienced property lawyer will understand typical lease provisions and how various clauses interrelate and if any additional clauses need to be included to protect your interests. We deal with property lawyers on a regular basis so we generally know who the competent ones are and may be able to recommend a few for you to interview.

Keep good records

Leases often provide for the tenant to make good at the end of the lease, ie, to restore the premises to the condition they were in when the lease commenced, taking into account fair wear and tear. Taking photos when you move into a building is a good idea in the event there is a difference of opinion or dispute at the end of the lease over the original condition of the premises.

It is also a good idea to keep a file of all written communication with and from the landlord or their property manager. This is particularly important when you are unhappy with aspects of the tenancy and the landlord’s performance.