commercial letter of intent to lease

Commercial Letter of Intent to Lease: What to Include

A commercial letter of intent to lease demonstrates your genuine interest in leasing a property while also highlighting that you may have different terms in mind compared to the landlord. It’s important to note that the letter does not create any binding obligations. 

Instead, it serves as a starting point for negotiations toward a mutually acceptable agreement. In this guide, we explore the key elements of writing a commercial lease letter of intent and how to establish a solid foundation for obtaining terms that align with your needs.

What is a Commercial Letter of Intent to Lease?

A commercial lease letter of intent is a crucial document that serves as the initial building block for a lease agreement between a landlord and a tenant. This letter typically provides a broad overview of the final lease terms, demonstrating the company’s sincere interest in renting the space, subject to mutually acceptable terms.

To effectively communicate your needs, the letter of intent should clearly specify the exact accommodations and requirements required from the space. This ensures that there are no surprises or misunderstandings during the lease negotiation process.

By putting together a well-constructed and comprehensive letter of intent, you convey to potential landlords that you are committed and serious about leasing the commercial property. It also serves as a foundation for further discussions and negotiations toward a final lease agreement that meets the needs of both parties.

Preparing for Success: A Guide to Crafting a Commercial Lease Letter of Intent

It is crucial to organize your thoughts when drafting a letter of intent effectively. Additionally, it is important to include specific information in every letter of intent to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

1. Gather Information About the Property

A comprehensive understanding of the space you are leasing makes negotiations much more straightforward. Conduct thorough research on any past issues the building has encountered, as well as the surrounding neighborhood and its characteristics.

Equipped with this additional information, you will be in a stronger position when drafting the letter of intent and negotiating contract terms. It will also allow you to determine if tenant improvement allowances will be required.

2. Remain Professional 

To provide your potential landlord with a comprehensive understanding of your organization, it is essential to include a written profile in the letter of intent. This will ensure that the property owner is well-informed and can make an informed decision rather than entering into an agreement blindly.

Including a written profile will convey your organization’s professionalism and demonstrate that you are a serious bidder. This information will reassure the landlord that you are a reliable and credible tenant from a reputable organization.

3. Understand That an LOI Is Not Binding

One of the most crucial elements to include in your commercial letter of intent to lease is a clause explicitly stating that the letter is not legally binding. This is essential to convey that you are only exploring the option at this stage, and it should not be interpreted as a contract or used as such in bad faith by the landlord. It is advisable to develop a clear and explicit written clause before proceeding with the rest of your letter to ensure that this understanding is established from the outset.

4. Determine an Expiry Date

Before drafting your letter of intent, it is a good idea to discuss and establish a reasonable expiry date with other decision-makers in your organization. This date serves as a deadline by which you will explore other options if the landlord does not respond to the letter. It is crucial to allow yourself sufficient time to identify and secure an alternative space in case this inquiry does not yield the desired outcome.

By gathering and agreeing upon this information beforehand, you will streamline the subsequent steps in the process and make them more straightforward. Planning ahead and establishing a clear timeline will enable you to manage the letter of intent process effectively and ensure you have contingency plans in place.

6 Items to Include in Your Commercial Letter of Intent to Lease

Once you have gathered the necessary information as mentioned above, you are now prepared to start drafting the actual letter of intent. By including all relevant details upfront, you can prevent the property owner from having to request additional information from you repeatedly. 

The letter of intent should encompass the following six key components:

1. Statement of Interest

In the letter of intent, it is crucial to begin with a clear statement of the purpose of your communication and why the property owner should continue reading. Provide the property’s address and express your interest in leasing it, specifying the desired terms. 

Next, outline your proposed terms in detail, including any relevant conditions, and include the non-binding clause to clarify that the letter is not legally binding. By including these elements, you can ensure that your letter is informative, concise, and sets the right tone for further negotiations.

2. Company Description

When communicating with a potential landlord, it is important to provide relevant information about your business, including your business model, business activities, goods and services offered, and target markets. 

This allows the landlord to understand the purpose for which you require the space and how you intend to utilize it. In some cases, proof of your financial capability to afford the rent may be necessary, especially if your organization is a startup. Being transparent and providing comprehensive details about your business can help establish trust and credibility with the landlord during the leasing process.

3. Outline of Employees & Assets

It is important to clearly communicate to the landlord the individuals and items that will be present on the premises. Some landlords may have restrictions on heavy machinery movement in parking lots, or there may be limited space to accommodate everyone and everything. 

Being upfront and transparent about this information can help prevent potential problems in the future. It is essential to provide a complete and accurate overview of your requirements and activities to ensure that the landlord is aware and can make informed decisions about the lease agreement.

4. Business Hours

The landlord may need to know your business’s opening hours to ensure they do not conflict with neighboring businesses or residents. The type and location of the property will determine whether your proposed business hours are acceptable. 

It is crucial to be honest and transparent about your intended operating hours to avoid potential conflicts. Providing accurate information upfront helps to establish a harmonious relationship with the landlord and ensure smooth operations at the leased property.

5. Overview of Current Space (If Applicable)

The property owner may be interested in understanding your current space requirements. Providing this information can offer valuable insight into whether the building you are considering for lease has sufficient capacity to accommodate your operations effectively. 

Including details about your existing space, such as square footage, layout, and functionality, can help the property owner better assess the suitability of the leased premises for your business needs. Being forthcoming with this information can facilitate open communication and informed decision-making during the leasing process.

6. Contact Information

It is important to provide detailed contact information in your letter of intent, so the property owner can easily reach you for further discussions. Your letter of intent serves as the initial step in building a business relationship with the landlord, and including your contact details encourages ongoing communication to keep the leasing process moving forward smoothly.

Include your contact information, including phone number, email address, and any other relevant details. If you are working with a commercial real estate broker, their contact information should also be provided. This ensures that the landlord has all the necessary information to reach out to you or your broker for any further inquiries or negotiations. 

Providing comprehensive contact information in your commercial letter of intent to lease demonstrates professionalism and a commitment to open communication, which can help foster a positive relationship with the property owner as you proceed with the leasing process.

Final Thoughts

A commercial letter of intent to lease is a crucial document in securing a property for your business. By carefully crafting a well-structured and comprehensive letter of intent, you can effectively communicate your intentions, terms, and requirements to the property owner or landlord. It serves as a preliminary agreement that outlines the key points of the lease negotiation, providing a framework for further discussions and negotiations.

Including essential elements such as the purpose of the letter, property details, terms, non-binding clause, information about your organization, space requirements, contact details, and other relevant information can help ensure that the letter of intent is thorough and professional. It sets the stage for a successful leasing process by establishing clear expectations, preventing misunderstandings, and facilitating open communication with the property owner.

Remember to seek legal advice and review the letter of intent thoroughly before submitting it to the landlord. While it is not legally binding, it can serve as a basis for the final lease agreement. With careful planning, attention to detail, and effective communication, a well-crafted letter of intent can help pave the way for a successful commercial lease negotiation and ultimately secure the right property for your business.