The COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to temporarily close their doors and shift operations. Even as we resume some normality, companies have learned invaluable lessons that will shape their future decisions and spaces. One of these lessons is in commercial leasing. COVID-19 can add a layer of complications to renting commercial real estate if you do not know what to look for. With some useful commercial rental tips, you can avoid costly risks and find the right space for your business.
To better position your workspace for the future and keep safety in mind, business owners should look at these aspects of commercial leasing:
- Social distancing ability. Re-evaluate how much space you may need to accommodate social distance for your employees or customers. Do you have space to install physical barriers between workstations? Do you have enough space in the register to distance customers six meters apart? With all these security protocols in mind, you can decide if you can safely stay in your existing space or if you should start striving for something new.
- Operational changes. If your landlord is responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of buildings, you are likely to see additional COVID-19 precautions, e.g. antibacterial hand soap dispensers, hand disinfection dispensers, increased maintenance and guidelines for the caretaker's staff. Depending on your lease, your landlord may need to share these changes with you. There may also be a rent supplement for someone on the COVID-19 staff agreement. Be aware of these policies in advance so that you can respond appropriately.
- Rental length and flexibility. Whether you live in your existing lease, want to break a contract early or complete a new space altogether, business owners should look for important points in any contract. First, you should clearly understand the end and break dates of the contract. Then ask about a shorter rental period or additional flexibility if your business needs to change in the future.
- COVID-19 clauses. Due to the pandemic, landlords and tenants can expect to see new COVID-19 clauses in leases. For example, global pandemics have traditionally not been incorporated into “insured risks” in previous insurances, but new rental terms or acceptance of tenant requests can be things to review going forward. Negotiating commercial leases can be complicated. If you have any questions, your insurance agent can help. Your agent can review the insurance terms of the commercial lease. By reviewing the lease with your agent, you can reduce the risk and reveal who is responsible for insuring what.
- Open dialogue between tenants and tenants. In light of the pandemic, tenants may amend future commercial leases. Whether you are planning to renew or you are a potential new tenant, it is important to review the commercial lease carefully. Teachers and tenants should have open lines of communication. The tenant must be able to answer your questions about insured risks, safety protocols and any new guidelines. Transparent, open communication helps protect everyone involved and promote best practices for commercial leasing.
At the end of the day, you can avoid confusion and extra costs when renting commercial property by reviewing the lease in advance. Read the agreement carefully, fully understand the terms, ask questions and create your business for future success.
Once you have found the perfect space, talk to an agent about protecting your business with the right business insurance.