Organising a Lease

For alcohol producers considering leasing a premises, it’s crucial to understand the financial implications and organisational aspects of such a commitment. As an accountant experienced in the alcohol production industry, I provide guidance to clients on what they need to consider when undertaking a lease for their business. Here’s an overview of the key aspects you should be aware of.
 1. Understanding Lease Terms
- Lease Duration: Consider the length of the lease and whether it aligns with your business plans. Long-term leases may offer stability, but shorter leases provide more flexibility.
- Renewal Options: Look for renewal clauses that allow you to extend the lease under predetermined terms.

 2. Cost Analysis
- Rent and Associated Costs: Factor in not just the monthly rent, but also additional costs such as utilities, maintenance, and any common area charges.
- Deposit Requirements: Be prepared for any security deposit or advance rent requirements, and understand the conditions for their return or utilisation.

 3. Lease Negotiations
- Negotiation Leverage: Understand that lease terms can often be negotiated. Consider aspects like rent increases, fit-out contributions, and leasehold improvements.
- Legal Review: Have the lease agreement reviewed by a legal professional to ensure that it is fair and doesn’t impose undue restrictions on your business.

 4. Fit-Out and Customisation
- Customisation Needs: Consider the extent of customisation or fit-out required to set up your production and whether the lease allows for such modifications.
- Fit-Out Costs: Budget for any necessary fit-out costs and determine if you are eligible for any landlord contributions towards these expenses.

 5. Compliance with Regulations
- Industry Compliance: Ensure the premises meet all industry-specific regulations, including those related to health, safety, and alcohol production.
- Licensing Requirements: Confirm that the location is suitable for obtaining the necessary licenses for alcohol production and sales.

 6. Exit Strategy and Clauses
- Termination Clauses: Understand the terms under which you or the landlord can terminate the lease and any associated costs or penalties.
- Subleasing Options: Check for clauses that allow or restrict your ability to sublease the space, which can offer flexibility.

 7. Insurance Requirements
- Insurance Obligations: Identify your insurance obligations under the lease and ensure you have adequate coverage for your business operations, equipment, and liability.

 8. Financial Planning and Cash Flow
- Cash Flow Impact: Assess the impact of lease payments on your business’s cash flow. Consistent rent obligations will affect your monthly cash flow planning.
- Budgeting for Expenses: Incorporate all lease-related expenses into your business budget for accurate financial planning.

 9. Professional Financial Consultation
- Consult an Accountant: Before signing a lease, consult with an accountant. They can provide insights on the financial impact of the lease and assist with budgeting and cash flow planning.
- Tax Implications: Discuss the tax implications of leasing, including any potential deductions and how they align with your overall tax strategy.

Organising a leased premises for alcohol production requires careful consideration of lease terms, cost implications, fit-out needs, compliance, insurance, and financial impact. It’s important to approach this decision with a strategic mindset, balancing the needs of your production with the financial realities of leasing. As your accountant, I am here to help you navigate these considerations, ensuring that your lease decision supports your business’s growth and financial health.