It sounds simple enough to identify the space you’re leasing. But does it include hallways, bathrooms, workrooms, etc.? In order to avoid confusion, it’s best to include a drawing of the leased space and attach it as an exhibit. You might want to get an aerial photograph of the area. If you’re paying by square footage, you’ll want to get measurements.
These are the areas that all tenants and guests can use. You’ll want to include these on the map talked about above. Then you and the landlord need to agree on who is responsible for maintaining these areas and the extent of the maintenance. If you’re sharing these costs with the landlord and other tenants, make sure you understand the formula and that the formula is worked into your budget.
You’ll want plenty of parking for you, your employees, and customers. This is another item to include on your map.
You want people to see your business. Your signs play an important part in your marketing effort. Find out if there are limitations on size, color, location, etc. If there aren’t any limitations, you should decide what sort of sign you want, then make sure you include the specifications in the lease.
These are things you add to the lease, but don’t become a part of the structure. At the end of the lease it’s easy to have misunderstanding about what stays with the structure and what you can take with you. If you make alterations, improvements, or repairs, you might want to take some of these with you when the lease ends. This requires you to alter the structure. Figure out how you want to handle this at the end of the lease.
Your lease sits on land. Sometimes you’ll store items on the land. If you suspect that the land has environmental issues (such as with a gas station or warehouse), then consider getting an environmental assessment of the land from an environmental consulting firm. Then you’ll have a benchmark on the property. If you don’t suspect that hazardous activity occurred on the property, still get a warranty from the landlord that the land is free from such activity.
Your lease includes much you don’t see: wiring, plumbing, roof, sidewalks, HVAC, grease traps, etc. You don’t notice these things when they’re running right, but if something goes wrong, you’ll know it soon enough. Faulty plumbing can cause a mess for you and your business. A leak in the roof can be miserable. When these things happen it’s good to know who is responsible to make things right, who will pay for it, and how long it will take.
Along with structural items there are the main services you need to operate your business: electricity, elevators, heat, water, HVAC, wi-fi, phone, IT, janitorial services, snow removal, etc. You want these services uninterrupted. If for some reason they’re interrupted, your lease can specify who’s responsible to get them back up running, how fast they need to do it, and who’s going to pay for it.
You operate certain services or you create products. Clients and customers come to your space. Sometimes you sell things. Whatever you do, make sure that your lease allows you to do it in all the locations you need to do it.