Tips on Leasing a Property for Small Business Owners


Steve Freeman: I’m sitting with Steve Katkov of Thompson Hall. And I’m here today. I would like to be able to talk with my visitors about what it takes to lease a property for small business owners. And the people I’m talking about would be those that might be an owner just by themselves leasing their first retail space, or perhaps they might have up to 10 employees.

Steve Katkov: At Thompson Hall, we are—We limit our practice strictly to representation of businesses, small to medium, generally 3 or 5 employees up to about 50. That’s what we consider our sweet spot. And we do a fair amount of work with start-up organizations. And because the members of our firm have both business and legal experience, we understand that the lease can be a tool in any business organization’s growth pattern. And so when we help tenants negotiate lease terms, we always look at it as a tool or an additional arrow in the tenants quiver as they begin to grow their business. And the vehicle for lease agreements, although it’s not required by law, is typically a written document that if it contains the correct bells and whistles that the law requires, why is this still a level of a contract? And many people confuse the point that because they have a writing, that it’s the same thing as a contract. And contract is really a conclusion of law. So your written agreement has to contain certain elements in order for it to be considered a contract. At which time then, it becomes enforceable for the tenant. So certain covenants, or representations, warranties that the landlord may make to you in writing can be enforced if the written agreement rises to the level of a contract. Now we live in a sophisticated society where most of our written lease agreements, the forms that are available on the internet or through any large commercial real estate house such as CB Richard Ellis and the like, meet those requirements.