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Essentials of the Commercial Lease Agreement in North Dakota
Every business owner dreams about owning commercial property with their name on it. But as we all know, that is an expensive venture to think about. Anyone who owns the commercial property will tell you that it is not a simple thing to do and some of them are still paying off loans. What this means is that if you want to open a location for your business, leasing the space is the next best thing you can do. It is cheaper, and it may help you reach your property ownership dreams in the next few years.
While leasing is a simpler option, it doesn’t mean that you should sign the lease without reviewing all the terms of the agreement. Once signed, the commercial lease agreement in North Dakota is a legally binding instrument that communicates and signifies the transfer of rights for the use of commercial space from the landlord or the property manager to a tenant. The agreement stipulates the terms and conditions of the agreement between the two parties. It is also called a commercial real estate lease agreement or a commercial property lease agreement.
So, do you know all the sections of the North Dakota commercial lease agreement? Do you know about the negotiable detail of the lease? Are you aware of your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the landlord? In this article, we’ll outline the basics of the lease agreement for commercial property.
The Lease Term
While there is no specific lease term applicable statewide, most leases in North Dakota span a period of 2 years. You may, however, opt for a longer lease if your business is already established and if you want to avoid the costs associated with negotiating the terms of the lease every few years.
This brings us to the two main types of commercial leases: the fixed term and the periodic leases.
The fixed term leases have predetermined end dates which means that there is no need for issuance of tenancy termination notices by either party. With this lease, the terms remain unchanged during the term, except when the landlord indicates expressly in the lease that they intend to increase the rent or change the terms of the lease. The lease is not renewed and to continue running a business in the space; a tenant has to sign a new lease.
The periodic lease, on the other hand, refers to a lease agreement that has no fixed end date and is renewable. The terms agreed upon and the rent can only be changed after a notice is issued as per the statutory regulations. To terminate the lease, either party can issue a lease termination notice, 30 or 60 days before termination of the lease.
Every tenant in a commercial premise will pay the base rent. On top of the base rent, most landlords require their tenants to pay for utilities, janitorial services, common area maintenance (CAM), property taxes and/ or insurance. Since you may pay some or all of these expenses, there are four main types of leases.
The Gross Lease: this is where a tenant is only responsible for the base rent, utilities, and janitorial services with the landlord paying for the rest of the operating expenses.
Triple Net Lease: in this arrangement, the tenant pays for rent in addition to all the expenses above. Three of these expenses are critical: CAM, property insurance, and taxes. Unfortunately, the expenses make this the most expensive type of lease. The other options, though rare, include the single (base rent and taxes) and the double net lease (base rent, taxes, and property insurance).
Modified Gross Lease: this is the most common type of lease and also a fair one in that the operating expenses for the property are shared between the landlord and the tenant.
Percentage Lease: Common with tenants in shopping centers and malls, this lease allows the landlord to charge base rent and a percentage of the tenant’s gross profits.
What happens if you renovate the commercial space? Does the landlord approve the improvement? And since the improvement improves the value of the space, do you receive a tenant improvement allowance from the landlord? Will you have to leave the space the way you found it at the end of your tenancy? Before you sign the lease, make sure that these questions are answered.
Before you sign a commercial lease agreement in North Dakota, you should inspect the property and make sure it’s accessible to persons with disabilities from the outdoors and the interiors. And if you change up the space, you also need to keep it ADA compliant. If you have to make all the changes needed to make the space compliant, that should be communicated in the lease.
Other factors you should consider and negotiate before signing the lease include the security deposit, subleasing and assignment, parking, signage, relocation and termination rights.
To get started with commercial lease agreements in Bismarck, Fargo, Minot, Williston, Mandan, Dickinson, or any other city in North Dakota, download our free commercial lease agreement forms today.