Please Rotate Your Device
How Long Should My Commercial Lease Be?
There is no standard length for a commercial lease. In the past year, Lease Ref has seen a 110 page lease (that was fun to review), and 10 page lease.
In terms of word count, we have seen as high as 50,000 words and as low as 4,200 words. The average commercial lease we reviewed in the past year was at a word count of 22,248.
As a general rule, a longer lease is usually better as that landlord has likely put more thought to all the potential scenarios that could come up, and it is good to be able to modify what is already on the page. However, most of the clauses are designed to protect the landlord so there will definitely be more work to be done before the lease is modified to be tenant-friendly.
Generally speaking, when a lease is longer it also typically overly verbose and confusing. A 50,000 word lease can be condensed into 20,000 words and still convey the same meaning (in my humble opinion).
A shorter commercial lease is more likely to get to the point, but also is more likely to be missing some clauses entirely. For instance, we have reviewed some leases this year that were silent on tenant parking rights and renewal rights. Sometimes this is intentional (most landlords do not volunteer a right to renew), but other times (especially with small landlords) it was not thought of at the time they constructed their template.
In the case of parking, what happens when the lease is silent on parking and the landlord at some stage wants to start charging for it?
On the one hand they do not specifically have the right. So for anything material, they likely will wait until the expiry of the lease to insert a new clause.
On the other hand, there are plenty of small changes the landlord will make from time to time, and what you may view as material, the landlord may not.
So when you have a lease that is silent, you could have a dispute. If you ever have a legal dispute with your landlord, it is usually lose-lose. You certainly would be better off focusing on your business than battling the landlord.
So the best plan is to have a robust enough lease, that can be easily understood by you and your successors, that was reviewed by someone with experience to be able to insert clauses that protect your tenancy.