Commercial Lease Tenant Checklist

Are you considering signing a commercial lease? Whether you’re an entrepreneur venturing into a new business or an established company looking to expand, leasing a commercial space is a significant decision that can impact your operations and finances. Before you put pen to paper, it’s essential to be well-informed about the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore five crucial things you should know before signing a commercial lease.

What is a Commercial Leases?

In essence, a commercial lease is a legally binding agreement between a tenant (the business) and a landlord (the property owner) that outlines the terms and conditions of renting a commercial property. 

A commercial lease provides the framework for the relationship between the tenant and the landlord, ensuring clarity and preventing potential conflicts. Unlike residential leases, commercial leases are more complex due to the unique nature of businesses and their specific requirements.

Before signing a commercial lease, it’s essential to thoroughly understand its implications and take the necessary steps to protect your business’s interests. Seeking legal advice, carefully scrutinising the lease terms, and negotiating clauses where necessary can help you enter into a lease agreement that aligns with your business goals and operational needs. 

Unravelling Legal Fees

When contemplating an Australian commercial lease, it’s essential to be aware of potential costs beyond the obvious rent and outgoings. Stamp Duty, Lease Registration, and legal fees for lease preparation are some considerations you should have on your radar. Moreover, legal costs that might arise in case of a lease default are also worth noting. Being diligent about understanding these costs is crucial. 

Your responsibility for these expenses can vary depending on the negotiation process and the type of lease you’re signing. Seeking professional legal advice from the outset can help uncover hidden costs and protect your rights, preventing unwelcome surprises down the road.


☑ Understand potential costs beyond rent and outgoings.

☑ Familiarise yourself with Stamp Duty and Lease Registration fees.

☑ Be aware of potential legal costs in case of a lease default.

☑ Seek professional legal advice to uncover hidden costs.

Maximising the Free Rent Period for a Commercial Lease

Imagine having the opportunity to establish your business and generate buzz without the immediate pressure of rental payments. Enter rent reduction, designed to assist tenants in the early stages of their lease while providing landlords with the security of a prolonged agreement. 

One type of rent reduction is a rent-free period, often spanning the initial months of the lease. During this time, tenants are exempt from paying rent, allowing them to focus on setting up their operations. As the rent-free period concludes, tenants start paying rent. Another form of rent abatement involves reduced rent for agreeing to a long-term lease. The longer the lease, the more pronounced the reduction. This arrangement benefits tenants by saving them money while ensuring landlords have the security of a committed tenant.


☑ Understand the concept of rent abatement and its benefits.

☑ Consider negotiating a rent-free period for setting up your business.

☑ Explore reduced rent options for agreeing to a long-term lease.

☑ Assess how rent abatement aligns with your business strategy.

Delving into Fit-out Costs

The aesthetics and functionality of your commercial space significantly impact your business’s success. Fit-out costs are a key consideration, encompassing expenses for essential modifications like fixtures, fittings, and interior adjustments. 

Before committing to the lease, ensure it outlines who bears these costs – whether it’s the tenant or landlord. Transparently defining responsibilities and costs helps prevent misunderstandings and sets the stage for a smooth partnership. Negotiating fit-out costs and documenting them in writing clarifies expectations and avoids potential disputes.


☑ Understand the impact of fit-out costs on your commercial space.

☑ Determine whether you or the landlord is responsible for fit-out expenses.

☑ Clearly define responsibilities and costs related to fit-outs in the lease.

☑ Negotiate fit-out costs and document them in writing for clarity.

Deciphering Permitted Use Clauses

The concept of ‘permitted use’ revolves around how you can utilise the premises. Essentially, it defines the scope of business activities allowed within the leased space. This clause is critical, ensuring your operations align with zoning regulations and legal requirements. 

For instance, a landlord might specify that the permitted use is exclusively for ‘hairdressing services,’ preventing tenants from opening unrelated businesses like grocery stores or cafes. If you intend to use the space for purposes beyond the permitted use, obtaining written consent from the landlord and local council is essential. Careful scrutiny of these clauses safeguards your business’s compliance and operations.


☑ Understand the significance of ‘permitted use’ clauses.

☑ Ensure that your intended business activities align with the permitted use.

☑ Obtain written consent for any activities beyond the permitted use.

☑ Scrutinise ‘permitted use’ clauses for compliance with local regulations.

Maintenance, Renovations for a Commercial Lease

Ensuring your commercial space’s upkeep, enhancements, and alterations is an ongoing consideration throughout your lease term. Clearly stipulate in the lease agreement the party responsible for maintenance and repairs and any associated costs. Collaborate with the landlord to establish protocols for conducting renovations. Additionally, it’s advisable to discuss the possibility of negotiating a rent-free period during these phases, which can provide financial relief as you enhance and customise the space to suit your business needs.


☑ Clearly outline maintenance and repair responsibilities in the lease agreement.

☑ Thoroughly negotiate and document fit-out costs with the landlord.

☑ Establish protocols for renovations and maintenance with the landlord.

☑ Discuss the potential for a rent-free period during renovation and fit-out periods.

Commercial Lease Tenant Checklist

Entering into a commercial lease demands meticulous attention to detail. By untangling legal fee allocations, capitalising on rent abatement opportunities, comprehending fit-out costs, understanding permitted use clauses, and addressing maintenance and renovation protocols, you establish a strong foundation for a prosperous tenancy. Partnering with professionals and seeking expert legal advice ensures you make informed decisions that align with your business’s goals and aspirations.

Eastview Advisory: Your Trusted Commercial Leasing Partner

Navigating the intricacies of Australian commercial leases can be a complex journey, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Enter Eastview Advisory, your dedicated commercial buyers‘ agents ready to guide you through the leasing landscape. Our team specialises in securing advantageous lease agreements tailored to your business’s needs, ensuring your leasing experience is seamless and rewarding. Whether you’re a startup or an established enterprise, Eastview Advisory is your ally in making well-informed leasing decisions that drive success.

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