Before You Sign!        

Things to consider before leasing space                            

  • Engage a professional to represent your interests.

  • Research average rents in the area to ensure you are not paying too much.

  • Make sure you have at least the last 2 years of financials (personal and business tax returns), a business plan, and a personal financial report for the landlord. The better the financials the better the deal!

  • Find out how long the space has been vacant your negotiating position will be better if the space has been vacant for a while.

  • Consider the length of the lease – balance lower rents that come with a longer lease against a long-term commitment.

  • Determine requirements: location, size and use, services and amenities.

  • Start your search early – there can be long-term consequences if you sign a lease in desperation.

  • View multiple properties. Do not limit yourself to the first one you see.

  • Ask if taxes, utilities and maintenance are part of the quoted lease amount or if they are separate.

  • Explore whether tenant improvement money is available to help with the build out. 

  • Ask for free rent while you are building the space or until you take possession. 

  • Check the current master plan for the area.

  • Check the use and occupancy certificate with the Department of

  • Permitting Services to see what is on file and whether it matches your intended use.

  • Start planning for signage early in the process – consult with your landlord and the Department of Permitting Services.  

  • Schedule a  preliminary design consultation with the Department of Permitting Services to review your plans.
Restaurant Specific Considerations
  • Consider vacant restaurant space that might save you money by just upgrading the space rather than building it from scratch. 
  • Find out if the space is vented and, if not, can it be vented?
  • Make sure there’s access for deliveries and parking for customers.
  • See if there is a grease trap in place or if you need to have one installed.