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If you are thinking of starting a gym business, you will most likely need to lease your premises. Running a gym often comes with a set of specific requirements, such as: 

  • bringing in particular types of equipment; and 
  • operating at certain hours of the day and night. 

This article will explain:

  • some common lease clauses that could impact your gym business; and
  • what to consider if you wish to make any structural alterations to the premises.

Common Lease Clauses

Many leases contain common clauses which may affect your ability to run your gym. Although not all leases contain these clauses, you should look out for them in your draft lease. If you notice any clauses that could affect how you plan to run your business, you will need to to consider what the appropriate next steps might be.

No Disturbance

Leases will often require you to use the premises in a way that does not disturb your new neighbours. This may affect your gym business if you:

  • wish to play music or TV during business hours; or 
  • use loud gym equipment.

The local council usually has restrictions in place regarding noise. You may wish to add special conditions into your lease stating you are able to play music or programs as long as you do not exceed the maximum decibel levels specified by the council. As a condition of fitting out a space to operate a gym, you might also be required to soundproof the premises.

These obligations will also depend on the location of your premises. If your gym is going to be located in the city centre or near a residential area, for example, noise restrictions might be very strict. If your gym is in an industrial complex, the requirements may not be as strict. 

Prohibition on Overloading

Many leases state that tenants must not overload the maximum floor loading weights of the premises. As part of your gym facilities, you may need to bring in certain machinery or heavy equipment. Whether this obligation will affect you ultimately depends on the weight of your equipment and the number of pieces that you will require for your business. However, this is an important consideration when entering the lease.

Obligation to Trade

Your lease might require you to trade during certain business hours as part of your obligations. This might be:

  • standard business hours (such as 9am – 5pm); or
  •  the trading hours of a shopping centre. 

Gyms frequently operate outside these hours. You may even be planning for your gym to operate 24/7. If this is the case, it is important that you notify the landlord. Operating hours may also be controlled by the council, in which case you may need to seek council approval to operate for extended hours.

Securing the Premises

Your landlord may require you to keep the premises secure and locked. If your gym operates by allowing customers in with access cards, you will usually have to cover the cost of additional access cards. Security is especially important to consider if you plan to operate 24/7. If there will be certain times where the gym is not staffed, you might need to consider additional security measures, such as installing security cameras.

Structural Alterations

While most businesses will need to fitout their premises when they first enter into a lease, gyms often require significant structural alterations. 

For example, you might need to install additional soundproofing to the walls of the premises or extra air conditioning for an indoor gym.

Generally, you will need to obtain the landlord’s approval before making any structural alterations. The landlord may choose to carry out the alterations themselves and pass on the cost to you afterwards. You will also need to consider whether or not your alterations may interfere with existing services. 

For example, will installing extra air conditioning interfere with the electricity supply or overload it?  If you need to make changes to existing services that are supplied to the premises, you will usually have to cover the costs.

Another factor to consider is if these alterations need to be undone or reversed when the lease ends. Your lease may contain a ‘make good’ clause that requires this. Make good is an expensive part of leasing and some changes are very expensive to undo. If any of the changes you make will be impossible to undo, you should ensure that they are excluded from the obligation to make good. 

Key Takeaways

If you run a gym, you should be aware of the clauses in your lease that could affect your business. You should also consider when you will need to obtain the landlord’s approval.  Certain common clauses may affect you as a gym owner much more than another commercial tenant. If you run a gym and require assistance in reviewing your lease, please contact LegalVision’s leasing lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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