Important Provisions for a Tenant in a Commercial Lease – San Diego Landlord-Tenant Attorney

 In connection with representing small businesses, our office regularly negotiates commercial leases on behalf of commercial tenants.  One of the most frequent questions we receive is whether or not the terms of commercial leases are negotiable.  The short answer is yes; however, the extent to which your landlord will negotiate the terms of a commercial lease depends on numerous factors.  In this blog post, we wanted to outline some of the terms we negotiate on behalf of our clients.  Some of these terms include:

  1. Term: the term of a lease refers to its length.  Shorter term leases tend to benefit tenants, as it allows them to evaluate their rental property needs more frequently and allows them to more quickly adapt to changes in their business.
  2. Rent Increases: Commercial leases often call for annual rent increases, either as a percentage of previous rent, or in connection with increases in the consumer price index (CPI).  It is always a good idea to request that annual rent increases be capped.
  3. Subleases and Assignments: A commercial tenant’s right to sublease or assign the lease may be vital in the event that either (i) the tenant wants to find new commercial space; or (ii) cannot stay in business at its current space, for whatever reason.  As a result, it is best to have an understanding with a commercial landlord allowing for reasonable subleasing and assigning of the lease.
  4. Exterior/Interior Specifications: Many commercial leases explicitly state what improvements and changes a tenant may make to the interior and exterior of the leased property.  It is always best that a tenant’s right to improve and alter the interior and exterior of the premises are outlined ahead of time in the lease.

These are only a few of the terms that a commercial tenant may need to negotiate with its landlord.  Because each commercial lease is different, any number of other terms may need to be negotiated as well.  At the VC Law Group, LLP, we frequently negotiate commercial leases on behalf of both small businesses and individuals.  For more information, please contact us via phone at (858) 519-7333 or email at