As few years ago, before Gym Lawyers was a business, I had a general legal practice in Pittsburgh, PA. I also owned my gym at the time, Industrial Athletics, and was trying to help a couple of guys open their own gym in the area. They found a wonderful spot located in a building that was being remodeled to be luxury apartments. Part of my was a little jealous. What a better way to get a base of starting members? They literally live in the building.
It Was All Going So Well . . .
These two did a lot of stuff right in the beginning. However, they never shared their commercial lease with me before they signed it. That missed step ended up costing them a ton of money in buildout, they lost the location, they had to pay an attorney to fight, and almost lost their business in the first few months. Why? Because they did not make it clear to their landlord what their business was/would be doing. The landlord didn’t understand that the gym would cause noise. When the tenants started to complain, my friends where the first on the chopping block.
This Isn’t Unique
Unfortunately, this issue can arise in a number of different ways. Yoga studios get in trouble for burning incense. Bootcamps get in trouble for loud music. Neighbors sue gyms for ordinance violations.
We also see this a lot in CrossFit-type gyms where the workouts include running outside. You want to open this type of gym and you find a space with a parking lot. You think it is perfect because your members can run around the parking lot and you don’t have to worry about them running out into the street. However, you are going to share the building with other tenants who share the lot. No big deal, you think to yourself, people should be good enough to look where they are driving and you will remind your members to watch for cars. You sign the lease and open your space. You are growing your membership and making money, the warm weather comes around, and you send your members out for a run. All is well and right in the world.
Then, later that afternoon, you get a call from your landlord. He/She asks why your members are running around the lot and says it is a hazard. His insurance company has an issue with this and the other tenants in the building are complaining. He tells you that you cannot have your members running around the lot.
What do you do? Are you really never going to be able to program running in your workout? Is this it? It creates a massive issue. This is where our experience will help you.
Be Clear From The Beginning
Bottom line, you can avoid this scenario if you are prepared from the beginning. And here’s how:
Every Commercial Lease should have a section dedicated to describing the Use of the Premises. So, first, make sure yours does. Next, make sure you are VERY clear about what you plan to do IN and AROUND your space. The more specific you are the better. Don’t be shy. Here is an example: Tennant’s business is a CrossFit Gym. It is understood between the parties to this lease that CrossFit is a sport that creates noise that may be heard in and around the premises. Tenant will play music at a high volume and may, from time to time, drop weights from an elevated position. Additionally, tenant will use the premises surrounding the building, such as the parking lot, for various exercises like running and sprinting.
Trust me, you don’t want to have issues like this come up after you have signed your lease and started running your business. At Gym Lawyers PLLC, we have the experience to help you avoid issues like this because we’ve either been there or we know someone who has. Before you sign, reach out so we can review your legal documents and make sure you are educated on potential legal issues before they happen.