It has been found that the growing competition for reaching new patients is forcing physicians and dentists to operate from nonhospital campus properties. This trend has resulted in significant increase in development of small medical real estate projects in the suburban territories of the country. Due to the same trend, most major metropolitan communities in the United States have become home to urgent care clinics. What’s more, it has become extremely common for healthcare providers to take Medical Office Space for Lease in small retail centers located close to hospital campuses.
As a medical professional, you are surely different from other commercial office space users. One thing that separates people like you from the rest is the fact that medical users usually lease office space for longer duration that other office tenants. In addition, healthcare providers looking to rent office space also need to care about a series of minute factors become signing a contract.
The first thing, you must do is hiring a real estate agent boasting experience of helping people in leasing medical office spaces. That’s important as only an agent or broker with prior experience would be aware of the ideal covenants and structure terms lease agreements should include for meeting the unique requirements of healthcare providers. Below we have discussed about some more factors one should keep in mind when looking for medical office spaces.
Cost- It’s true that the rent of a given office space tends to be the primarily deciding factor when determining whether it’s affordable or not. However, things can be a little different when leasing medical office spaces. If you are leasing an ordinary commercial space, you will have to consider the expenses you’ll need to bear for converting it into a medical office. That would increase the overall cost significantly; the cost would in fact become high enough for deterring you from leasing a regular office space and then converting it. An experienced broker would help you in getting spaces suitable for medical practice and thereby preventing you from spending additional money on conversion.
Accessibility- Your clinic must be located in a place where it would be accessible to your patient base. It must be easily reachable for patients suffering from serious illnesses and individuals with disabilities.
The space should ideally be equipped with accessibility amenities such as multiple wheelchair ramps, electronic doors, elevators, etc. It’s important to remember that the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (or ADA) strictly requires medical offices to be accessible to people with all kinds of disability. So, if the space leased by you already doesn’t meet the stringent ADA requirements, you will have to spend thousands of dollars to get your medical office ready.
Parking- A medical office must have significantly more space for parking than a regular office. According to experts, ideally, every medical office should include a minimum of five parking sports for every 10000 square feet area it covers.
Another factor to be considered is proximity. This means, you must also make sure that the office is home to a dedicated drop-off zone and its parking lot is closely located to that zone.
Repairs and improvements- Usually, landlords want the repairs and improvements done to their properties to be carried out by contractors of their choice. However, medical offices have different improvement requirements. An experienced broker would make sure that your landlord would allow you to introduce contractors with specialization in building healthcare facilities whenever there’s a need. The landlord would always have the right of accessing the space subjected to demolition/remodeling for making sure that the changes done is not affecting the property negatively.
Biohazards- The broker would also make sure that the landlord allows you to install machines presenting radiation risks (these include CT scanners and X-ray machines). In fact, spaces constructed for being used as medical facilities, usually have special shielding for housing those machineries. If you are leasing a traditional office space, you will need to carry out a series of modifications before starting to use X-ray machines or CT scanners. Other than delaying the entire process, it might even incur big legal fees.
Landlord access- The majority of the conventional leases would allow the landlords to visit any part of their leased property at any given time for ensuring that the occupants are using the space properly. The same is not true for spaces leased for medical practices. It’s the duty of a medical practitioner to ensure complete privacy of his or her patients. This makes it mandatory that the lease contract includes a specified protocol the landlord should follow for accessing his property without violating confidentiality of patients. Landlords are usually allowed to access leased medical office spaces either during specific hours of the day or by appointment.
After-hour access- Often the conventional commercial space leases allow tenants to enjoy access to the property for standard office hours i.e. from 8 am in the morning to 5 pm in the evening. However, as doctors often need to see ailing patients during odd hours of the day, the lease terms for such spaces should allow after-hour access. The lease contract must also specify to whom exactly and how the liabilities for utility costs will get allocated.
Exclusive-use provision- The competition among practicing physicians is becoming stiffer with every passing day. This makes it important for you to negotiate lease clauses that would prevent your landlord from renting out the proximal or adjoining Office Spaces to your rivals. Also, make sure that the language used in the contract is extremely specific about what the term “rivals” actually means for you. The clause shouldn’t be vague and should never stop complementary healthcare establishments from operating in the same building as that can actually be beneficial for you.
The above discussion reveals how important it is to know the law for finding a suitable office space for setting up your clinic. It also shows that it’s extremely important for practicing physicians or dentists to lease a space designed and constructed to meet their specific needs. Only a qualified real estate agent or broker will be able to find you a space that meets your requirements and assist you in getting a perfect lease contract.