How To Legally Sublease Commercial Space

Updated July 3, 2023
10 min read
How To Legally Sublease Commercial Space


Subletting your commercial space — sounds like a plan, right? You've got some spare room that's just collecting dust, and by renting it out to another business, you can cut down on those pesky rent and utility bills. But here's the catch — you've got to do it by the book, with the right paperwork to ensure you're on the safe side. Especially if you're a business owner who's looking to sublet their office space, you have to get your legal ducks in a row to avoid a headache later with your landlord or subtenant. One of the must-have items on your checklist is a commercial space sublease agreement.

In this article, we will discuss the key elements of a commercial space sublease agreement and how to use it for subleasing space.

Understanding the Commercial Space Sublease Agreement

At its core, a sublease agreement for commercial space is your safety net — it's a legal document between you (the tenant) and your landlord that nails down the specifics of your lease. Before you go ahead and shake on that sublease deal, you've got to understand what this sublease agreement for commercial space is all about, from its overall aim to its nitty-gritty terms and clauses.

Definition and purpose

Think of the commercial space sublease agreement as your rulebook. It lays out the terms of the deal between you and your landlord for renting out the commercial space. The bottom line? It's all about making sure everyone's on the same page. It's designed to safeguard everyone's interests, ensuring both you and your landlord know the fine print and what you're signing up for.

Let's say you have a coffee shop, and your friend has some extra space in his building that he's not using. Instead of hunting for a new location, you strike up a deal to sublease a portion of his commercial property. To make things official, you need to create a commercial space sublease agreement.

In this agreement, you'll address all the essentials, such as the sublease duration, rent amount, and each party's responsibilities. It's wise to cover aspects like maintenance, repairs, and other factors to help maintain the space in its best condition. The commercial space sublease agreement shields both of your interests, providing a solid foundation for your collaboration.

Key terms and clauses

Wondering what to include in your commercial space sublease agreement? Here are some key terms and clauses to consider:

  • Rent amount and payment terms. Spell out the rent amount you'll be paying and when it's due. This clarity helps you budget effectively and sidestep any unpleasant surprises.

  • Lease term and renewal options. The lease term tells you how long you can occupy the commercial space. It's crucial to know the duration of your lease, whether it's a few months or several years. Renewal options, if available, give you the opportunity to extend your commercial space sublease agreement if things are going well.

  • Maintenance and repair responsibilities. This clause of the commercial space sublease agreement outlines whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for fixing things like plumbing issues and electrical problems. Clear expectations help ensure the space remains in good condition throughout your tenancy.

  • Use restrictions and permitted uses. This part of the commercial space sublease agreement specifies how to use the retail space. It may outline any restrictions on certain activities or businesses and detail the specific purposes for which the space is permitted. Knowing the permitted uses helps you operate your business within the agreed-upon guidelines.

  • Security deposit requirements. The security deposit is a safeguard for the landlord in case of any damages or unpaid rent. The commercial space sublease agreement should outline the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which it may be withheld. Understanding these requirements allows you to plan for the initial deposit and be aware of the conditions for its return.

  • Insurance requirements. Insurance is important for protecting both parties. The commercial space sublease agreement may specify the type and amount of insurance coverage you need as a tenant. Reviewing these requirements to ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage in place is essential.

  • Default and termination provisions. This section of the commercial space sublease agreement outlines the consequences of defaulting on the lease, such as late payment or breaching other terms. It also explains the circumstances under which either party can terminate the lease agreement. Familiarizing yourself with these provisions helps you understand the potential consequences and your options in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Remember, it's crucial to carefully review all the terms and clauses in the commercial space sublease agreement. Understanding your rights and obligations as a tenant ensures a smooth and mutually beneficial leasing experience.

Subleasing Commercial Space

So you're thinking about subleasing your commercial space? Good for you! Just keep in mind that there are several critical steps to take to ensure you do it legally and with proper documentation in place — yes, here it goes about commercial space sublease agreement.

Legal considerations: Better safe than sorry!

Dealing with legal risks can feel like walking a tightrope, so be sure to consider these factors while subleasing commercial space and signing that commercial space sublease agreement:

  1. Understand liability: If your subtenant causes damage or injury, it's possible you're still on the hook. So, be clear about your liability and consider including provisions in the commercial space sublease agreement to hold the subtenant accountable.

  2. Rules & regulations: Make sure your subtenant is fully aware of and complies with zoning and building codes. To play it safe, include a clause in the commercial space sublease agreement requiring compliance from them.

  3. Stick to the original lease: As the original tenant, you must follow the lease terms and conditions with the landlord. Your commercial space sublease agreement should align with the original lease, and your subtenant must understand and follow these terms as well.

  4. Be prepared for disputes: Conflicts can pop up during subleasing, so addressing potential areas of conflict within the commercial space sublease agreement is crucial. Outline dispute resolution procedures while defining the rights and responsibilities of each party involved.

For a smooth ride, consider consulting a legal professional specializing in real estate law to have your sublease agreement drafted. Alternatively, if you're looking for a more hands-on approach, try using a commercial sublease agreement template as a flexible starting point.

Wrapping Up

Subleasing commercial space can be a fantastic opportunity for offsetting costs if done right. Success hinges on understanding your commercial space sublease agreement, adhering to proper subleasing procedures, and minimizing legal risks along the way. And if you're looking to streamline the process – go ahead and use a ready-made template created by professional real estate lawyers!

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Article by
Inna Chumachenko

Inna Chumachenko is the Content Lead at Lawrina. She is responsible for managing all the content found on the blog, guides, and other website pages. Inna has a degree in philology and a vast interest in law. In her role at Lawrina, Inna oversees the content team, establishes collaborations with writers, and curates content from various contributors.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the content for Lawrina, please feel free to contact Inna directly via email at or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make sure my sublease is legal?

First, verify that your original lease allows for subleasing and obtain written consent from your landlord. Then, ensure your commercial space sublease agreement aligns with the original lease terms and conditions and covers the necessary legal considerations, such as liability, rules and regulations, and dispute resolution procedures.

Should I consult a legal professional when subleasing my commercial space?

Yes, it's always a good idea to consult with a legal expert specializing in real estate law when drafting a commercial space sublease agreement. They can ensure that you address all legal risks and requirements. Alternatively, you can use a professionally designed commercial sublease agreement template for guidance.

What consequences might I face if I don't obtain my landlord's approval for subleasing?

If you sublease without your landlord's written consent, you may breach your original commercial space sublease agreement, which could lead to legal consequences. Always review your lease and follow the proper procedure for obtaining landlord consent before proceeding with a sublease.