Your lease specifies how events will unfold—from making improvements, to moving in, to making repairs, to doing maintenance, to renewing and exercising options, to terminating the lease, and finally to moving out.
Hopefully you already have things in motion when you sign the lease. If you plan on making improvements to the space, the landlord will often give you a tenant improvement allowance. You’ll want to get going on these improvements as soon as possible. This means having permits in place, drawings and specifications, contractors, financing, etc.
When the tenant improvements are done, it’s time to move in. Or, if your lease doesn’t involve improvements, you’ll move in on the date specified in the lease. When the landlord delivers the premises to you, inspect the premises to make sure you get what’s in your lease.
Then you use the space for the term of the lease. Time will take it’s toll on the property—it will need maintenance; it will need repairs or improvements; and as time goes on the space might need to be altered for your expanding or contracting business. Some of these items will be minor and some will be structural. Some will be caused by nature, the landlord, or other parties. Some will be caused by you. These items might cause minor disruptions to your business or major disruptions, even temporary closure. They will all cost money. They will also require inspections of your leased space.
A few things you may want to consider including in your lease are an option to expand your space or an allowance for refurbishment for longer leases. You can always ask the landlord for an option to extend the lease. If you’re interested in buying the property, you can ask for an option to buy the property or the right of first refusal.
Then the lease ends. You return the property in good condition. Make sure that you don’t get stuck with the responsibility to remove your alterations or improvements. Otherwise, budget for them. The landlord gives you your security deposit back. And you move on. The lease and the relationship is done.