When it comes to running a successful business as a dental or medical professional, there are myriad moving parts. Dentists, optometrists, doctors, and other medical practitioners understand that mastering your craft is only the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, many practitioners don’t realize how detrimental an unclear or unfair lease can be to their business. They may lack the experience and significant time commitment required to analyze the fine print of a lease and decipher what is actually being said in the document.
This is especially true in the context of medical and dental leases. They are extremely unique when compared to other retail leases—and often, there are unfavorable clauses hidden throughout that could trap an incautious medical or dental professional.
Tate Legal has identified several items that you need to be aware of in a lease to ensure that you get the best deal possible.
One item that is critical to consider is exclusivity. When drafting a dental or medical lease, you want to make sure that you are safe from competition on your home ground. Negotiating for exclusivity in your lease ensures that you have the freedom to grow within your defined territory.
Change of location is another major issue. Often, the landlord will want the right to move your business within the development as they see fit. You want to make sure to soften or eliminate this type of clause in your lease, as it can be a major hassle for your business and your clients.
Death and disability is another critical aspect of the lease. As a dentist, doctor, optometrist or other medical professional, you often carry the responsibility of managing the business, while also being the most critical staff member. If you were to pass away or become permanently disabled, you want to make sure your interests are protected and that the lease can be terminated in a reasonable manner.
Assignment rights are yet another key component of medical and dental leases. This determines your ability to sell your practice to another practitioner before your lease expires. Although assignment may not seem important at the start of your lease, you will want to pay attention to this clause as your business evolves.
All-in-all, there is no such thing as a ‘standard lease’ when it comes to medical and dental professionals. And while these particular items are especially important to dental and medical professionals, please keep in mind that these are not the only factors to consider. You also want to pay attention to standard clauses like grace periods, term extensions, options to buy and rights of first refusal, HVAC obligations, termination rights, signage, HIPAA regulations, reserved parking, security, and rent escalations.
When launching a new practice or expanding to new locations, worrying about the particulars of a lease can seem daunting and, perhaps, a little intimidating. That’s completely normal, and it’s one of the big reasons this law firms exists. We are here to help you succeed and will do our part by expertly negotiating a strong and clear lease that is tailored to your personal needs.