To find out how a piece of property is zoned, contact your local planning agency, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The planning agency associated with the local government in the location where the building is located decides which areas are zoned for residential purposes and which are for commercial, and has information available on the specific zoning requirement for each piece of property in its jurisdiction.
Hiring a local land-use attorney is one way to better understand zoning restrictions and work through zoning problems, states the SBA. In some situations, specific zoning requirements impact business decisions that affect expansion, building and the type of business activities allowed. A lawyer is able to explain how the zoning laws affect your specific situation now and in the future before you sign a lease. In the event of zoning problems, the attorney helps apply for a variance or exclusion to the current zoning.
Along with a real estate attorney, a knowledgeable commercial real estate broker is also an asset in negotiating a lease for commercial property, maintains the SBA. A broker helps you negotiate with the landlord to get a lease that is fair and meets your needs. Some areas to consider in addition to zoning when considering a rental include utility payments, maintenance, sublease requirements and the consequences of defaulting.