Leases, like all legal documents, should be reviewed by an experienced attorney. We have been negotiating shopping mall leases on behalf of business owners for decades. The fine print in your lease is ultimately your responsibility as the business owner. Don’t sign anything you don’t fully understand and really accept. You will most likely be asked to personally guarantee for a large portion of the future rent, which can be hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of many years if you are not careful.
Shopping malls can be some of the most difficult leases to negotiate on behalf of tenants. Shopping mall landlords can be some of the most heavy-handed landlords in the industry. Especially for smaller tenants, the shopping mall landlord may many times have an attitude of “take it or leave it” with respect to the smaller tenant. However, we have negotiated hundreds of leases with shopping mall landlords and know how to advocate on your behalf without turning off the landlord or killing the deal. They will often prefer you don’t hire a lawyer and you just sign their “boiler-plate” agreement. This is a HUGE mistake that many unsuspecting tenants make. It is an unfortunate situation, and once that lease is signed, the landlord will hold you to every letter of it no matter how one-sided and how unfair the lease is written.
Mall landlords want maximum flexibility with their space and will often seek short term leases with onerous personal guarantees. However, if you are investing money in the space, you need some certainty that your business can continue and you are not a victim of your own success. Mall landlords will demand marketing fees, maintenance fees and many other fees. It is critical you understand and negotiate your true cost of occupancy beyond the base rent. Let us help you and use our decades of experience with landlords, through good times and bad, to get you the best deal possible for this critical investment.
Our first step is a thorough review of the landlord’s lease, marking up requested changes, comments and any concerns we may have with the language. This first step is critical. It is very difficult to get any further changes not asked for in the first round. And if your attorneys take weeks to give the landlord initial comments, you could be compromising your leverage to get concessions.
After we discuss, fine-tune and agree on that first round of comments, it is presented to the landlord. Then a conference call is scheduled to come to terms with what is agreeable and to identify all the remaining outstanding issues.
The last steps are to negotiate the remaining issues and to work with the landlord’s attorney to prepare a signature-ready final version. We understand how critical this step is for you to open your business, and we know how to play the role of expeditor— chasing, pushing and pulling all the parties over the finish line.