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5 common commercial tenancy mistakes to avoid

By Greg Bell

Are you thinking about renting a commercial space to run your business in? Great idea – whether you're looking for retail, industrial or corporate real estate, there are plenty of strong options for commercial leases in the Gold Coast.

That said, if you're not well-versed as a tenant in commercial property there are a few common mistakes that might not have occurred to you but should absolutely be avoided.

1. Not considering fit-out costs

So you've landed the perfect retail space – it has a break room, a storage area, and a wide open space for you to build up your shop exactly as you planned. But wait a minute – did you think about how you're going to pay for that?

When leasing a commercial property, it's important to remember that, even though you don't own it, any fit-out expenses are yours to shoulder. Be aware of this when you entire lease negotiations, as too expensive a lease could leave you with insufficient cash flow to utilise the space in the way you imagine. Get quotes from fit-out companies before finalising the lease and consider asking the landlord to subsidise the fit-out if they seem especially keen to have you as a tenant.

2. Failure to seek a better deal

Whether you're starting or relocating your business, you probably feel some pressure to move as quickly as possible. That's understandable, but don't let that pressure stop you from negotiating the terms of your lease.

A standard lease agreement may very well favour the landlord and put your business in his or her hands. Slow down and take the time to read through the lease agreement, highlight areas you're unsure about and bring them to the table to negotiate a better rental rate or more suitable terms for your company.

3. Short-sightedness

Does your company have a five-year plan? It should – and that should be accounted for in your property selection.

Ensure the place you choose to rent will have enough space for you to grow within the period of the lease. At the same time, don't pay extra for a place that's too big for you now. Great commercial spaces will have the potential to grow with you – for example, if there are offices on the other floors of a building you might be able to include them in your lease down the line.

It might also be wise to avoid particularly long leases for this same reason. If your workplace is stopping your company from growing and you're obligated to complete your lease, you're missing out on valuable opportunities.

4. Leasing in the wrong zone

The use of any property in Australia is limited by the zone in which it exists. It's up to you as the lessee to determine for sure that the space you'd like to lease is legally zoned for your intended purpose.

It can be extremely expensive to terminate a lease once it's finalised if you discover you aren't entitled to use the space as you planned to – so be sure to check the zoning.

5. Running out of time to renegotiate

If a commercial lease is working well for you down the line, it's easy to lose sight of the lease's end date. This means that as the date grows near, you'll be under extra pressure to renew the lease because you can't afford to relocate or don't have the time to move out.

Again, it's always important to look to the future. Start thinking about if you're going to renew the lease and communicate that with your landlord or property manager with plenty of time to work out new conditions or rent prices.

Avoiding mistakes can be difficult if you're new to commercial leasing – there are plenty of nuances to property law and leases that mean you're better off seeking professional guidance. Contact the team at Ray White Commercial Gold Coast for comprehensive leasing advice.

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