Entering into a lease agreement for your dental or medical practice is one of the most important decisions and agreements that you enter into for your practice. There are both financial and non-financial terms that should be properly negotiated to protect your rights; these are complicated and convoluted terms that should not be negotiated by a novice.
Many times landlords try to sneak in a language in lease agreements that gives the landlord the option to move your office from one location in the building to another, or worse yet terminate the lease by giving you a couple months of notice. Equally unfair and oppressive could be a language regarding your rights as a tenant if the landlord decides to sell the building and the new owner wants to demolish the building. These terms could mean that after you make a large investment in the premises, the landlord could ask you to move to a new office or even vacate the building, and if you have signed a lease agreement that provides the landlord with such an option then your investment in building a suitable office for your practice and patients could simply go to waste.
A different but a related topic is whether you have an option to renew the lease. However, just having the option to renew does not mean that you have negotiated the rent for the option period and the new increased rent may be cost prohibitive for you to stay and render your option period essentially meaningless. You want to maximize your investment in the lease premises and avoid wasting it for a short-term lease, not to mention that it will be more difficult to sell your practice if you have a short period left on your lease as you will need the landlord’s cooperation to extend the lease which is something that just about any sophisticated potential buyer will require. Clearly in those situations the landlord will have the upper hand unless you have foreseen this situation and negotiated a lease that deals with it before it ever comes up.
You also want to be weary of terms in the lease regarding what is considered a breach and whether you have a right to cure the breach; otherwise, you may find yourself in breach of the lease followed by hefty fines and penalties and even the possibility to have to vacate the premises. These provisions also give the landlord the chance to look for excuses to hold you in breach if they want to get rid of you because they want to bring in a tenant that will be more lucrative for the landlord or if the landlord wants to sell its property to a buyer who wants to revamp or rebuild the building and you happen to be in the way.
Whether you are concerned about who pays the build out cost for the office space for your medical or dental practice, whether the landlord can simply move you from one office to another office after you make substantial and costly improvements to the premises, whether you have an option to renew the lease, or who is responsible for repairs, or a plethora of other terms regarding Breach and/or Default, you should have proper legal representation to protect your interests and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, that you invest in your office space. Feel free to contact me (301-309-9002; firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are seeking experienced legal representation in negotiating a lease for your medical or dental practice.
A. Shane Kamkari, Esq.