Have you been presented with a commercial lease agreement for an office or mini factory by a landlord and asked to sign? They are often very badly drafted, hard to understand, and biassed in favour of the landlord. Landlords often try to get you to sign the agreement quickly without reviewing it in detail. This can be dangerous as the lease agreement might put you in a weak position. You must know what you are agreeing to. We can help you review the commercial lease agreement and negotiate it with your landlord. We’ll enable you to sign the lease quickly, but at the same time having taken the necessary due diligence.
Can you change terms in your commercial lease agreement?
Yes, you can. An agreement is a meeting of minds and both parties must agree to it. The problem is that many landlords will not entertain requested changes to their standard lease template. They often simply tell the tenant that if you want the property, sign.
Take it or leave it.
Even if the landlord will not entertain changes to the lease, it is still important for you to know what you are getting yourself into.
What laws are relevant?
In South Africa, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) can be relevant, but often the tenant is not a consumer as defined in the CPA and therefore the CPA does not apply to your lease. The lawmakers decided that if you are a legal entity with a turnover of more than R2million, you can look after yourself, you don’t need protection and should be able to negotiate a lease agreement that provides you with sufficient protection. If you have been presented with a lease agreement, that does not comply with the CPA you can send the landlord an email asking for the same protections as a consumer.
How we can help you?
We can review a lease agreement that has been presented to you by a landlord. We’ll give you:
- a practical and meaningful report,
- an indication on a scale of 1 to 10 how biassed the lease is in favour of the landlord,
- highlight the biggest risks and potential show stoppers,
- suggested amendments and recommendations tracked for your ease of reference, and
- guidance on how to negotiate with the landlord.
We can give you an upfront fixed price quote to review your lease agreement. Simply send it to us and we’ll respond with our high-level comment and a quote to do the review. There is no charge unless you give us the go-ahead to do the review.
If necessary, we can also help you to negotiate your lease agreement with your landlord.
Why we will deliver?
- We have reviewed and commented on many commercial lease agreements for clients over about 15 years. There are about seven variants of standard commercial lease agreements that are in circulation in South Africa. We can usually spot which variant of the template is being used for your lease almost immediately.
- We know what is fair, what landlords normally accept and what is simply not worth asking for.
- We have resolved many disputes between landlords and tenants. Often these disputes could have been avoided had both parties properly understood the lease agreement.
- For about 10 years, we have been drafting a template commercial lease agreement for use by landlords.
- We have created an automated document assembly system that automates the drafting of lease agreements.
- We invest in property and have personal experience as both the landlord and the tenant.