52 Tips to Negotiate an Office Space for Lease in Columbus, Ohio 
Are you searching for office space for lease in Columbus, Ohio? The region certainly has a lot to choose from, providing you understand the best methods for your search for office space. Once you find that dream office, though, you have to rely on your preparations and negotiating strategies to get the best lease price and terms of the space. You’re likely here because you want to learn some tactics. The best thing you can do is strategize, research, learn, and ask plenty of questions; doing so will ensure that you have a good understanding of the lease and level the playing field when negotiating. This comprehensive guide, packed with 52 top tips, will help you fully prepare so you enter the negotiation with confidence.
7 Ways to Prepare for Your Lease Negotiation:
Negotiating an office space for lease in Columbus, Ohio can be quite daunting for many people. Office space in our region is in demand, so there is a lot of competition. However, not every prospective tenant fits the type of tenant the landlord is looking for, such as business standing, financial situation, etc. Lessees don’t always realize that some office space lease terms are negotiable; landlords and lease brokers often want to keep it that way. Commercial real estate brokers are usually paid solely on commission, and the higher the lease amount, the higher the commission; on the other hand, if no lease is executed, there’s no commission. Keep in mind that you’ll be dealing with a seasoned commercial real estate broker or landlord who will be well-versed and prepared. As such, you will want to be, too. Consider the checklist below as you prepare to negotiate your office space for lease in Columbus, Ohio. Following these strategies can also help you avoid common mistakes.
- Obtain market data. The first thing you will want to do is obtain accurate market data about commercial real estate and office space for lease in Columbus, Ohio. Although commercial property leases are not public records, you can tour properties, ask the right questions, and contact other business owners and commercial real estate brokers.
- Determine your needs. Before you head into the hunt for office space, determine your primary needs. Would you like your lease to include parking, utilities, and/or storage? Create a “cheat sheet” so you are prepared to negotiate these stipulations with a potential landlord.
- Understand terminology. It is important to become familiar with the varying terminology that may be found on a standard officespace lease agreement.
- Consider timing. You can negotiate better terms, for the most part, when you sign a longer lease. But consider your business, too. What if it grows faster than expected? Be sure to weigh all of your options.
- Check your financial standing. Prior to executing an office space lease agreement, the landlord may put the prospective tenant through a financial verification process. This verification process is typically in place so that the landlord can foresee whether the tenant will remit payment on time. Look into your finances first to make sure you are in good standing with banks, lenders, credit card companies, etc. If you’re aware of an issue, it’s best to be upfront with the landlord or broker; don’t let them find out on their own and make assumptions. If there’s an understandable reason for the blemish on your record or it was a long time ago, assure them by letting them know.
- Check the validity and standing of your entity. If your business is set up as an entity, view your business’s profile on the Ohio Secretary of State’s office; ensure that your entity is valid and in good standing. Frequently, the landlord or commercial real estate broker handling the office space for lease will look up your business. By viewing your profile first, you won’t be caught off-guard by any possible surprises.
- Hire a real estate attorney to review your lease. An attorney will get paid a set amount regardless of whether the lease is executed; they have no stake in the agreement, so they will truly have your best interest in mind.
Topics Covered & 36 Questions to Ask Regarding an Office Space Lease:
Aside from the above considerations, you may also want to find out some of the following details when looking at office space for lease in Columbus, Ohio (or any city in Ohio). Below are the topics you typically see in an office space lease, along with questions regarding details that are not always covered. Keep in mind that every lease is unique. Look through this list and note all matters that may be pertinent to you; when you’re ready to review your lease, make sure all noted items are specified.
- Lease Term
- What is the length of the lease term?
- When are the commencement and termination dates?
- Does the landlord offer a longer or shorter lease term (if this is applicable to your situation)?
- What is the total cost for the whole term?
- What are the frequency of payment installments (typically monthly)?
- When are payments due? (They’re typically in advance of the first day of each calendar month.)
- Is there a security deposit? (Typically the first and last month’s rent are due upon lease execution.)
- What additional expenses are involved, beyond the rent?
- Use of Premises
- How should you use and treat the premises?
- Will you, as well as your employees, customers, and other visitors, have access to a parking lot or parking area?
- Taxes and Assessments
- Who is responsible for paying all real estate taxes, assessments, and related charges?
- Who is responsible for the cost of utility-related expenses? Some utilities noted may include electricity, water, natural gas, sanitary sewer, telephone service, and Internet service.
- Compliance with Laws
- In the event that any law, ordinance, or regulation is passed or enacted by the government, is the tenant or landlord responsible for all costs associated with required alterations of your operation or use of the premises?
- Maintenance and Repairs
- Who will handle the maintenance and repair of the premises, including the utilities, as well as associated costs?
- If handled by the landlord, how soon can you expect a maintenance worker to come by, if there is an issue?
- Specifically, what type of maintenance and repairs are covered, if any? Some examples are the exterior, roof, foundation, heating, cooling, air conditioning or central air, plumbing, landscaping, snow removal, the interior, such as flooring/carpeting, doors, cubicles, and light bulb and fixture replacement.
- Indemnity and Insurance
- What type of insurance can you maintain or obtain (e.g., comprehensive public liability insurance, fire and extended coverage insurance)?
- And what is the cost of insurance?
- Typically, the tenant is responsible for any liability, damage, or other expense that may occur on the premises, except when due to the landlord’s fault or negligence. Make sure this is specified.
- Alterations and Improvements
- What type of improvements, alterations, or additions can be made to the premises?
- Is the installation of any signs permitted?
- If so, are there any stipulations in regards to the type, size, color, etc. of the signs?
- Damage to Premises
- If the premises are destroyed or damaged (by fire, for example) to the point that the tenant cannot use the premises for at least 120 days, what will happen?
- If the premises are taken or threatened to be taken in appropriation proceedings or by right of eminent domain, what would that mean for the tenant?
- Default (it’s best to mention that these hypothetical questions are unforeseeable events)
- What are the consequences of defaulting on the lease?
- Is there a grace period for making a late payment?
- Non-Waiver and Right to Cure Defaults
- Make sure you fully understand the landlord’s rights here.
- Also determine whether accrued interest is added to the amount the tenant may owe due to failure to pay rent or meet their obligations.
- Cooperation Respecting Mortgages
- If there’s a mortgage in place, the landlord or their lessor may request that the tenant provides documentation concerning the lease.
- Estoppel Certificate
- This is where the tenant or landlord can document whether the other is in default regarding any obligations in the lease.
- Holding Over by Tenant
- Does the landlord offer an extension of the lease term, should you decide to lease the office space for an additional month or two after your lease is up?
- If an extension is allowed, is there a maximum amount of time?
- And how much notice needs to be given by either party to terminate the lease once you’ve started the extension?
- Should you want to renew your lease upon the termination of your initial lease, how much advance notice is required?
- Surrender of Premises
- Upon termination of the office space lease, the tenant, obviously, must vacate. Typically, details are provided regarding the condition in which the property should be left.
- Entry by Landlord
- The landlord does have a right to enter the leased office space at all reasonable times to inspect; the same goes for showing the space to prospective buyers and sellers once the end of the lease nears. However, the landlord must not unreasonably interfere with the tenant’s use of the premises.
- Does the landlord provide notice of entry? If so, how much notice is given?
- Notices and Payment of Rent
- Which method of payment does the landlord accept (e.g., check, bank transfer, PayPal, etc.)? If the accepted payment method is check, is hand delivery required?
- What type of notices, if any, are required from the tenant and landlord?
- Does the landlord provide receipts of payment?
- If applicable to your situation, does the landlord allow the tenant to sublet the premises?
- If so, does the landlord have a separate lease agreement?
- Governing Law
- Make sure the agreement specifies that the office space for lease in Columbus, Ohio is subject to and governed by the laws of the State of Ohio; this is the case even if one of the parties may reside in a different state.
- As with pretty much all agreements, amendments to the lease are not valid or binding unless the amendment is in writing and executed.
Need Help Finding Your Ideal Office Space for Lease in Columbus, Ohio?
It is always a good idea to request proposals for a lease and review them with a lawyer or your commercial real estate agent; otherwise, make sure it’s a professional who understands all of the fine print.
When it comes to commercial real estate, the little things can add up fast. Starting and growing a business can be challenging. The commercial real estate market is not the easiest to navigate; you do not want to burn out before you even step foot in the door of your new office space in Columbus, Ohio. Isn’t it time you solicit the help of a professional CRE broker?
Since 1938, three generations of Weilers have helped to transform Columbus into a thriving community that business owners can call home. When it comes to office space for lease, no one understands the locations, property, appraisal value, and best way to negotiate a lease better than the experienced commercial brokers at The Robert Weiler Company. Call us at 614-221-4286 today and let us help find you an available office space for lease in Columbus, Ohio.