10 Considerations For Equipment Leasing and Lease Financing In Canada – From Start to Buyout !

Contrary to what Canadian business owners and financial managers might think it’s not always about the approval and the rate in lease financing in Canada. Let’s look at ten (yes ten!) other things you need to consider, from the start of an equipment leasing transaction to the end or buyout!

There a number of terms and issues that play a key role in the overalls structure and proper documentation of an equipt. lease in Canada. In some cases they should be viewed as your rights, in some it’s critical you understand your obligations.

Let’s dig in. In Canada the customary point of a starting to an equipment lease is essentially when you the lessee have signed off on an acceptance certificate. Your signature on that document should mean that you are prepared to start payments on the lease, which in Canada typically range from 36- 60 months, with some exceptions based on asset type and your overall firms credit quality. By signing the acceptance it’s critical you understand that you have deemed the asset in good working order, as often times the lease company is not the vendor you have worked with, they are just the financier.

Lease terms as we said are typically 3-5 years in Canada. Many clients fail to recognize they sometimes have flexibility in adjusting payments to a quarterly or semi annual basis – dont always think in terms of monthly payments when you are adjusting your cash flow budgets.

In many instances, certainly for larger transactions you may be asked to provide a certificate of incumbency on the transaction – simply speaking that’s just your firms statement that the signing officer on the lease can obligate the company for this particular transaction.

Warranties on an equipment leasing transaction in Canada. As we stated in the majority of cases, unless you are dealing with a captive finance co owned by your vendor the lease company is just financing the transaction – so they are concerned solely with payment, not functionality of your asset. So ensure you have a solid understanding with the vendor on maintenance, warranties, etc., because; ask we said, these often should not involve the lease financing firm.

Although your asset is leased you should consider that it be properly maintained. In certain asset categories you might be asked to adhere to a specific level of maintenance, also relating to the fact that on return of the asset the lessor might in fact re lease or sell the equipment.

We aren’t big fans of leasing companies in Canada placing ‘ stickers’ or other asset ownership references on the assets you lease. In some cases lessors might insist, but in general we feel clients can negotiate strongly on this point, especially if your firms overall credit quality is strong.

A certificate of insurance is generally required for any equipment leasing transaction, or even a term loan, in Canada. Your insurance broker will typically be very familiar with a standard form that lists the lease financing firm as ‘ loss payee’ in the even of any unfortunate incident, i.e. fire, theft, etc.

End of term. Only a three word phrase but boy is it important in Canadian equipment leasing financing. These three words can make or break you when it comes to ensuring the lease transaction you entered into brought benefits to your firm. The basics around this issue are as follows – ensure you know how to terminate the lease from a legal obligation point of view. If you have entered into an operating lease understand clearly your ability to terminate, return, extend, or upgrade. In technology financing this is all important, but equally important to other asset categories also.

In Canada some lease companies will want a right of first refusal on all your business. We’ll be very clear on our feeling on this issue – simply they should have to earn this right, not demand it! Enough said!

In certain instances you might want to be in a position to assign your lease, prior to the end of the term. Typically this is negotiated up front, and requires simply that a credit worthy other entity be prepared to pick up your rights and obligations. Because of how lease financing companies are funded in Canada you might often find your own firm as the recipient of a notice of assignment by your lessor – the bottom line – nothing should really change as your rights still remain under and assignment unless you have agreed otherwise .

Well, that’s it. A lot of issues, some important to your firm, others less so. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with rates, approvals, plus the number of other issues we have detailed than can make or break equipment leasing success in Canada.