What is the role of the lease in the sale of my practice?

By Jean Fallago, JD, LLM
President, Almonte Fallago Group

Your lease not only serves you during the practice career but also will continue to serve you "or not" when you are ready to sell.  Does your lease permit an assignment to a purchaser of your dental practice? If not, then the reverse is true, namely that an assignment to the purchaser will require landlord's consent.  Thus, Landlord can choose not to consent or barter for higher rent. 

Typically, a Landlord will try to prolong your exposure and liability on the lease by requiring you to remain personally liable for rent on the lease along with the Purchaser for the term of the lease. Even if you are bringing a partner in, the terms of  your lease may in fact require consent of the Landlord for admittance of any new partners.  I have had purchase and sale deals die because Landlord was unreasonable in his demands as to the new tenant. 

Always make sure that your lease permits an assignment to a purchaser of your practice based up creditworthiness that is comparable to the time you retire which is the standard that many Landlords use in measuring the new tenant against you, the old tenant.  Having a proper lease is essential to protecting your practice value by assuring the buyer the right to stay in your location.  If your lease doesn't currently give you this right, ask for it at your next renewal date.