Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Buying a Restaurant - Watch That Restaurant Lease Option Language

Check us out at www.sellingrestaurants.com A lease option gives the holder of the option the right to exercise his or her right to continue with the lease for a specified period of time. The lease option is usually in control of by the tenant. A lease option is a unilateral contract, meaning one side has all the power while the other side is powerless. This is one of the few times a landlord is at a disadvantage...well, a little bit in any case. So one holding the option at the end of the term can decide whether to continue with the lease or not. The landlord has no say in that decision. However, the landlord will almost always have restrictive language in the option agreement. It is this restrictive language that can make it difficult for a tenant and restaurant owner to sell their business. The most common restrictive language is as follows: 1. Making the lease personal to the tenant. This means the option isn't transferrable to a buyer. This gives the landlord more control over the transfer of the lease, giving them some negotiating strength with a new tenant. Often a landlord will allow the option to transfer, but make sure such language is clear in the lease assignment agreement. 2. The rent increase in the option is high. Again this gives the landlord the power to boot you out if the business isn't sustainable under the new high rent. 3. The timeframe when the tenant has to give notice to the landlord of whether or not the option is going to be exercised can be limited and restrictive in timeframe and in form. You mess-up either the timeframe or form, you lose the option. So make the language as simple and clear as possible and follow it to a T! That's it for now folks! Mel Jones CEO & President SellingRestaurants.com 480.274.7000

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