Renegotiating A Commercial Lease
Let’s examine renegotiating a commercial lease. If you are currently leasing commercial space and your lease expiration date is within a year from expiring. Now is the time to consider reviewing your lease and/or renegotiating your lease down to today’s market rates. Many commercial tenants are struggling to pay lease rates from 3 – 5 years ago as the economy fluctuates. We, at Commercial Properties, Inc. are in the trenches, working with landlords, owners and tenants navigating through the commercial real estate up and downs. We work with tenants everyday looking for space, but many of them would prefer to stay in their current lease. They struggle to get the landlord or owner to lower their lease rates or work with them to find a solution. My best advice for negotiating a lower rental rate is to work with a professional commercial lease consultant who can do this for you. I have successfully advocated for many tenants and negotiated, often substantial, rent reductions. Doing this effectively takes both patience and experience. Remember that without any help whatsoever, you are going to possibly remain paying excessive rent.
Below are a few basics to follow when renegotiating a commercial lease
Start Early: Lease renewal negotiations should begin six (6) to twelve (12) months before the term expires. If you can’t get a decent renewal rate and decide to move, would you rather know this with six months or six weeks left on your lease term?
Create Competition for Your Tenancy:
Even if you don’t want to move, shop around and collect written offers from other landlords. These can be used as leverage when renegotiating with your current landlord.
Have the Landlord Give the 1st Offer:
For a new lease or a renewal, resist making the first offer. By doing this prior to your renewal, it implies that you will stay – thereby undermining your negotiating strength.
Ask for More Than You Need:
When negotiating for free rent, tenant allowance, or any other term, always ask (negotiate) for more than what you need. If you need three (3) months of free rent, ask for five (5) months. Resist beginning at the level that you are prepared to accept. Also, by asking for more than what you expect to receive, you position yourself to strategically give and take depending on the importance of certain items to you.
Negotiate Non-Rent Issues:
These include parking, signage, carpet, paint and any deposit or personal guarantee which you may have previously agreed to. Do you need more spaces for customers and/or staff? Would you like parking stalls closer to the property doors? Would you like to see more/better signage with your business name outside of the property? Is the landlord holding a deposit of yours? As a current tenant, the landlord will want to you to remain and the cost with these non-rent items are typically less than having to attract a new tenant.
The biggest mistake that tenants can make is not developing alternatives to their first choice. Once a landlord believes that a current tenant is planning to renew, immediately the tenant loses his negotiating leverage and the landlord is in control. We often hear “I don’t want to move” or “It will cost too much to move” both of which are deadly statements if you want to renegotiate your lease. Every tenant must develop a plan “B”, “C”, etc. in the event you choose not to accept what the current lanlord is offering. This will allow you to enter the lease renewal negotiation in a position of power. A professional commercial lease consultant will ensure that your landlord is aware of your options you have in the market without creating an adversarial relationship. They will make you aware of deadlines and provide you with the negotiating leverage you need to achieve the best economics and business terms. Remember that tenants don’t get what they deserve; they get what they negotiate!
If you’re thinking about renegotiating a commercial lease, allow us the opportunity to work on your behalf and help give you the option of staying in your current space.
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