Could Your Landlord Relocate Your Dental Practice?
As ludicrous as it may sound, the answer is yes.
Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security simply because you’ve found the perfect location for your dental practice and growing patient base. The fact is what could possibly happen to upend your comfortable situation might surprise you.
When your landlord announces that you’re being relocated because the tech company down the hall needs two more floors, you have the frightening realization that the office lease you thought was designed to protect your interests, is actually riddled with clauses that the landlord can exploit – the “relocation clause” being the devil in the detail.
The relocation clause gives your landlord the right to relocate your dental practice to another location in the building. This happens most often when another tenant is interested in expanding and willing to pay higher rental rates to do so — even if it means booting you out.
Typically the relocation clause carries a 30-days’ notice and move to a new location. But because a dental practice is expensive to maintain and difficult to relocate; a hidden relocation clause can wreak havoc for a dental tenant.
The most effective way of avoiding surprise relocation is by identifying this clause in advance and negotiating it out of your dental office lease before you sign it. If it cannot be removed, it can be redrafted to better suit the tenant’s needs.
Negotiating a dental space lease can be tricky, but with a planned approach and some knowledge of the process you can hammer out the terms of your dental office lease to your advantage. Here are some viable strategic terms to employ in your lease.
- Landlord responsible for all expenses: Negotiate the terms of the clause so that the landlord becomes responsible for all costs associated with the move, including marketing materials and stationery, moving expenses by trained dental movers, demolition, renovation, and the build-out of the new space.
- Rent abatement: Ensure you will pay the same or comparable rent in the new location.
- Comparable location: Add language that will ensure the new premises will be comparable with the original space in terms of size, configuration, view, and foot traffic.
- Sufficient notice: Demand a sufficient notice period to adequately prepare your staff, patient roster, and build-out of the new office, avoiding any downtime until the move date.
- Limited number of relocations: Because landlords can exercise their right to relocate you indefinitely, negotiate the language so you can only be relocated once during your term.
- Lease termination rights: Try to negotiate your option to terminate the lease in case the landlord relocates you to an undesirable location.
Better still, avoid the problem altogether. A dental office leasing professional can vet any hidden risks such as the relocation clause in the lease, and devise an appropriate lease negotiation strategy to improve the terms of your lease agreement.
A strong lease can set you up for success by offering security and long-term practice location protection so that you can focus on practicing dentistry without having to worry about packing up and relocating your business.