Risks In Delaying The Dental Office Lease

Importance of tracking lease expiry dates


June 02, 2014 | Posted in Tuesdays With Transitions | Be the first one to comment


Your dental office lease is one the most important contracts you will ever sign in your career as a dentist, containing language that affords a landlord many rights that if exercised, can negatively and financially impact your future at crucial stages in your career.

The single biggest mistake that a dentist makes is not tracking their lease expiry dates. Often dentists wait too long (typically within a month of the expiry date) to commence discussions with their landlord regarding renegotiating the lease renewal terms. One month in advance may sound like enough time to prepare for a negotiation, but there are many flaws in this approach.

Risks in Waiting Too Long

Short on time? Short on options. If you’ve gotten to the one month mark, you’ve probably lost the “Option to Renew” your lease. Options often fall approximately 6 months prior to the lease expiry date.

If you have exercised your option to renew, it’s probable you’ve agreed to exactly the same terms and conditions as the current lease, leaving no room to renegotiate for better terms, or worse, you have agreed to the landlord’s then current standard form lease.

No time, no leverage. The less time you give yourself to prepare for discussions with your landlord, the less leverage you have to negotiate a fair deal. Landlords aim to get you as close to your expiry date as they can, running out the clock until you are backed into a corner. The landlord community is totally aware of how long it takes to move a practice and the significant investment it requires.

30 Days to Vacate. Miss your expiry date?

You’re now considered an “Overholding” or month-to-month tenant. Technically, language in the lease may give your landlord the right to terminate your lease and kick you out of the building. Check the Overholding clause in your lease to see how harsh your penalty is should you miss your expiry date.

Double Your Monthly Rent
Month-to-month tenant? Your lease may contain language that gives your landlord the right to charge you double the monthly rent. Don’t like it? Find a new location; you have 30 days to exit the premises.

Preparing Early & Identifying Risks
The best way to prepare for a renewal negotiation is to stay on top of your lease expiry date, and start thinking about your renewal 18-24 months in advance.

Gain a thorough understanding of your current lease by reviewing it for critical dates and language that may present roadblocks for you and your career goals down the line like relocation provisions, or lease assignment restrictions.

Once you have an idea of what’s in your current lease, you can begin shaping your negotiation strategy to achieve the ideal lease. Being well-prepared for your negotiation in advance will give you ample time to negotiate a good deal and secure a strong lease that will support the success of your dental practice. Time is power.


Author: Alain Sabbah, Vice President, Sales at Cirrus Consulting Group

For 20 years, the Cirrus Team of expert dental office lease negotiators have been committed to achieving fair and affordable financial terms for their dental clients, ensuring they are set up for long-term stability, security and success, with the ability to sell and transition out of practice. For more information about the dental office lease negotiation process, visit www.cirrusconsultinggroup.com or call Cirrus directly to schedule a complimentary dental lease consultation at 1.800.459.3413.   Click HERE to read more!

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