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 June 07, 2023

How to Negotiate a Lease

A seated man and woman negotiating a lease with a man as they review document.

The big question: Can you negotiate a lease?

You’re a business owner looking for a bigger, more prominent place to run your business. Or maybe you want to open a store in a new location. Or perhaps you need a new car, but you don’t want to buy one outright.

You’ve got your eye on a great car, or on a sweet rental space in a prime spot. The landlord or car dealer hands you the lease they have drawn up. You look it over, aghast at some of the terms you find yourself agreeing to.

  • Can you change this lease before you sign it?
  • Can you negotiate rent?
  • Or, do you have any say in the matter?

The answer to those questions is YES!

Lease negotiation is easier said than done. But it is worth the time and effort required to give yourself the best rental deal possible while keeping all parties satisfied. Let’s walk through the basics of how to negotiate a lease and some of the main kinds of leases you may find yourself signing during your busy lifetime.

A real estate agent showing a business lease for an office to a business owner inside the property.

Business owners: Here’s how to negotiate a commercial lease

Negotiating a commercial lease is your right and responsibility.

While your potential landlord may want you to think that you have to agree to the lease as soon as they present it to you, the reality is that you hold just as much sway as they do. They need their commercial property filled as much as you need a space to rent! That means you have the right to negotiate the lease terms you don’t like, as well as the responsibility to fight for yourself in any unfair expectations the commercial lease may contain.

As you look over the lease your landlord has drafted, keep an eye out for some of these important buzzwords:


You plan to rent the space for a set amount of time—perhaps 5 years. But what if you love the space and want to stay in it longer? Extension options for a longer lease term give you the ability to stay in the space and keep renting past the originally agreed-upon date.

Acts of GodA potential renter pointing out provisions of an office commercial lease to a real estate agent.

Small businesses aren’t immune to nature! An “act of God” is any natural disaster that damages the rented space or forces you to end the lease early. For example, you’ll want to ensure that your lease includes clear language on your rights and your landlord’s duties if a flood destroys your floor and some of your business property.


On that note, termination clauses are imperative when you are leasing commercial space. Does your lease provide crystal-clear information on what to do if you must break the lease sooner than planned? Many commercial leases include a date by which you can end the lease early, such as a termination date of 3 years if you originally signed on to stay for six.


If you’ve ever wondered, “What is a corporate lease?”, a corporate lease is basically a sublease. Many landlords are nervous about letting their tenants sublease. But it is possible and might even make your life easier, so make sure to include a subleasing arrangement. Essentially, you will be promising to assume a landlord’s role by taking in rent and making sure your subtenant fulfills their responsibilities. But subleasing could save money and take some of the rental burdens off your own shoulders.

Retail lease: What you need to know

A retail lease differs from a commercial lease, in that a retail lease is exclusively for the purpose of selling items. If you want to offer physical products to the public, a retail lease is the way to go.

Just like a commercial lease, you can negotiate many points of your lease agreement with your landlord before you seal the deal. You need your rented commercial real estate to fulfill certain requirements, so don’t be timid in making sure you get everything you need out of your space.

With a retail lease, you work out details such as the co-tenancy clause, early termination, reinstatement and extension arrangements, hours of operation and more.

How to negotiate a car leaseHappy couple negotiating a new car lease with a salesman inside an auto showroom. The car is red.

If you want the latest model of a new car, or you want cheaper car payments than a loan, renting a car may be the right move for you. Make sure you get the most out of your car lease by being armed with knowledge before you walk into the dealership.

Know what other dealerships have to offer.

You may have your heart set on a certain car. But it doesn’t hurt to get quotes from other dealerships. That way, you can compare quotes and let your dealer know that you are aware of your options. Your dealer may then match their competitors’ prices, thus reducing your interest rates or monthly payments.

Don’t be afraid to argue.

“Argue” may be a strong word here. But if your dealer offers a price, you can counter that price with an amount closer to your liking. You can negotiate many points in a car lease, such as a longer lease term, the mileage you’ll get to drive, the vehicle’s value and fees, the interest rate and more.

Bring notes and write everything down.

Do your research on the car’s total cost, including taxes, fees, down payment and more. Bring this research with you so you can reference it when needed. As you negotiate with your dealer, write down any new information that’s said.

Lease negotiation is complex.

No matter what kind of lease you are about to sign, it is a delicate process that can quickly get confusing with all the obscure terms and legal language. LegalShield is here to serve!

For over 50 years, LegalShield has existed to help protect and assist people like you. Our dedicated provider lawyers are ready to help with your lease needs. Our small business plans give small business owners access to consultation, document review, phone call or letter to a third party, collection letters, and more services required to efficiently run a business. And our personal legal plans offer individuals the protection, assistance, and 24/7 emergency access they need as they face the unique legal challenges that life will throw at them.

Our legal plans renew automatically, and you can cancel anytime you want. Want to consult a lawyer to know your rights for a successful lease negotiation? Speak to a LegalShield lawyer near you today.


Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist, and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be a third-party paid contributor. All information by authors is accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.


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