4 Things You Should Know About Commercial Leases

Business is booming and you now need to find a proper office or retail space that will meet your needs. Great! We all know that signing your first commercial lease can be daunting, especially once you see how long the legal document is. Don’t know where to start and how to protect yourself? Here are 4 things you should know about commercial leases.

Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding commercial leases, send us an email at 


They are VERY different from residential leases

Tenants have a panoply of privileges when it comes to residential leases. For instance, tenants are legally protected against unreasonable and abusive rent hikes. Residential leases also prevent landlords from ousting tenants. Commercial leases, on the other hand, are not as regulated as residential leases, which means landlords can include a wide variety of clauses in their leases, such as asking for a security deposit that will cover three months’ worth of rent.


You should negotiate them

Many assume you cannot negotiate a commercial lease and that it should be signed as is. However, especially when dealing with large real estate companies, leases are often not adapted to the tenant’s needs, as these companies tend to simply modify the tenant’s name and the price of rent. If you think something is missing from your lease, ask for it. There are multiple clauses you can add in a commercial lease that can be very beneficial in the long run. For instance, many retailers ask for exclusivity clauses when they sign a lease in a mall. This is the reason why you’ll often find only one sports gear store in a mall or that you won’t be able to find a specific brand at multiple retailers in the same shopping center.


You need to read them carefully (even if there are 50 pages)

Clients often assume that only 3 out of 50 pages in a lease are relevant, but you’d be surprised at how restrictive some leases can be. We’ve seen shopping centres that prohibit you from handing out flyers, having auctions, having any food in your store, hanging things on the walls, etc. Do not assume anything in a commercial lease. Do not think your landlord will offer you a parking spot just because the building has an underground parking lot or that you will be able to use your space as you wish. Take the time to go over your lease to find out what they are offering you and what your obligations are.


You should publish them

Many entrepreneurs aren’t aware of this, but publishing your lease can save you a lot of trouble. Doing so prohibits a new owner from ousting you from your space following the sale of the building you are renting in. You should therefore take the time to get your lease published with the Quebec Land Registry if you’d like to avoid this situation.


If you need some advice regarding commercial leases or would like a lawyer to go through your lease with you, do not hesitate to send us an email at or click the link below to schedule a consultation.

About the author