Consider this a Public Service Announcement:

Recently an interested potential client toured Edison Spaces and thought that we were the right space for their business. They went to their existing office, a national executive suite chain, to give them 30 days notice and were shocked to find out that their contract had already been renewed THREE MONTHS before their contract end date.

We don’t believe trapping people is any way to do business, but the auto-renew isn’t uncommon in commercial leases.

Frequently, office lease contracts include an auto-renewal option that requires the tenant to provide a certain number of days written the notice. What most tenants don’t realize is that the auto-renew function comes into play at anywhere between 90 to 180 days before they believe their lease will expire. (Say, what!?)

Commercial tenants can be caught off-guard by these “silent renewal provisions,” and failure to read or understand the contract is not a sufficient legal ground to get out of the lease obligation. If the contract requirements aren’t followed precisely, tenants could be stuck in a contract that no longer serves their needs (or costs more than they originally agreed to) for another lease period, which might be years, not months.

It goes without saying, that before signing any office contract tenants should be sure to review it to determine what, if any, notice is required to the landlord if you don’t wish to renew the contract. A best practice recommended by the Metcalf Adair Law Firm is to “review the contract at the beginning carefully and note milestone dates, such as deadlines to notify the landlord of the tenant’s intent, in a reliable calendar system, so the tenant will not allow such deadlines to pass inadvertently.”

Ultimately the onus is on the tenant to beware of the auto-renew. Make sure you don’t get stuck in a space that doesn’t serve your needs.

If you are looking for an office that isn’t going to auto-renew you and will let you scale at your pace, we’d suggest one of these: