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Signage and Visibility: Important Elements of a Commercial Lease

By Howard C. Stross
January 03, 2014

If your business relies on visibility for part of its success, one big part of doing so is signage. With signage, you can show prospective customers your name, where you are located and what you sell. When your business is within leased space, what you see in the lease about signage is what you get. If the lease is silent on signage, or not clear, you may end up with no or little signage. From the landlord’s view, getting the signage provision in the lease is no less important.

A commercial lease should specify the responsible party for payment to install, maintain, repair and replace the signage. It is also important to establish the style requirements (appearance). A tenant may want a specific design, whereas a landlord may want all signs in a shopping center to look similar. The lease should state how approval from the landlord is obtained, where the sign is permitted, where sign is not permitted, and define what signage is and is not.

If you are a landlord, you will want the lease to say that if you consent to modify a sign, you are not consenting to change the name of the tenant, change ownership, assign or sublet the lease space.

If you are a tenant, you should inquire whether the landlord requires you to erect signage at your expense before occupancy. You should also know if prior to installation of signage the landlord’s written consent is required. The landlord may ask to review drawings and for proof that you have complied with local sign law. Finally, you should know whether landlord requires a deposit for removal of the signage at the end of the lease term.

This blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. In your business there may be more issues to cover regarding signage than noted above. It is important to review the signage provisions before the lease is signed.

There are many important elements of a commercial lease. We have written several other articles on the various provisions you should be aware of. One blog post was on utilities. There’s one discussing sales tax. Another blog was on notices. The fourth discussed the importance of access. The fifth was on the relocation provision.

If you are negotiating a commercial lease or need other commercial real estate legal services, call 813-852-6500 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our real estate attorneys.

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