As part of the lease negotiation process, the tenant should make sure it obtains landlord’s approval for the type and design of signage that it needs, as well as the number and location of the signs.
Office Tenant Signage
An office tenant may need relatively minimal signage. Usually, the office tenant will want signage at its office door, as well as directory signage in the lobby. Other signage an office tenant may want might be elevator signage and exterior building signage. The type and amount of signage an office tenant can obtain is dependent on the tenant’s leverage, which basically is driven by the size of the lease. A larger amount of square feet leased by the tenant will mean more money for the landlord, and that landlord likely will be more willing to accommodate this tenant because of the importance of the deal.
Retail Tenant Signage
For a retail tenant, signage is critical to the success of the store. It is imperative for the retail tenant to have storefront signage. A retail tenant may also want window, pylon, monument, blade, and directory signage. Additional concerns for the retail tenant are how the signage will be designed and whether it will be illuminated, if at all.
A retail tenant should attempt to have its intended signage preapproved by landlord or, at a minimum, have its intended signage preliminarily approved as “generally acceptable” to landlord. This second type of approval would simply mean that tenant’s signage appears to be within landlord’s requirements. This would not be binding on landlord, who would have a final approval right, but it does provide some comfort to the new tenant.
Any type of approval will require the parties to review the signage and to discuss the finer points that sometimes raise problems. How will the signage be lit? Does the signage need to be lit after the store closes, and if so, for how long? Does the tenant get signage on the center’s pylon sign or monument? Can the tenant decorate the store windows or door with displays and decorations?
These types of questions and discussions will allow the parties to flush out any issues well in advance of signing the binding lease. This is important because it will save time, money, and headache once the lease is signed and the store needs to open. By addressing these issues early on, tenant will be in a better position to easily promote and market its store and focus on the growth of its business.
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