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Elevate Your Lease Renewal Negotiations: The Case for Tenant Advisors

Posted by Anne on January 5, 2024

By Elizabeth Holmes, Dean Blackey and Mike Ogasapian
Lease renewals in the realm of commercial real estate can be a daunting endeavor, one that many executives and business owners prefer to avoid. However, engaging in lease renewal discussions doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety. In fact, it can present an excellent opportunity to improve your company’s economics and enhance your work environment. In this article, we’ll explore why involving a commercial real estate advisor well before your renewal deadline is crucial for optimizing this milestone in your lease’s lifetime.

Missed Opportunities and Deadline Challenges
In many cases, tenants miss out on the opportunity to negotiate better lease terms for several reasons, often tied to the lease’s structure. Office, industrial, and R&D/flex leases typically require tenants to provide notice to the landlord within a specific window, usually 6 to 12 months before the lease termination date if they intend to renew. Failing to meet this deadline leaves you with little to no leverage to seize cost-saving opportunities.
The key to avoiding this scenario is to enlist the expertise of a commercial real estate advisor who understands the leasing market in your area. In today’s market, the services of a real estate advisor usually come at no cost to you, as they are typically compensated by the landlord. At R.W. Holmes, we take a strategic approach to maximize your time and effort in securing the best possible lease terms, whether that’s staying in your current location or exploring alternatives in the market.

Areas of Lease Negotiation
Square Footage Optimization: Every company, whether an office, lab, or industrial tenant, experiences growth and evolving space needs. It’s crucial to use your space efficiently, and your lease renewal provides an ideal opportunity to communicate your need for space reconfiguration or expansion to your landlord.

Operating Expenses: Lease documents often contain clauses related to operating expenses. For instance, an office tenant on a gross lease basis may be responsible for a proportionate share of annual building operating expenses, which tend to increase each year after a base year. During lease renewal negotiations, tenants can request that base years be reset to the year following the renewal, reducing financial burdens.

Space Refreshment Allowance: Negotiating a space refreshment allowance is another important aspect for tenants across various space types. This allowance can cover maintenance or updates, such as replacing an HVAC unit for industrial or R&D/flex tenants or refreshing paint and carpet for office tenants. While these costs are significant for landlords, they often prefer them over the expenses associated with finding new tenants.

The Fundamental Benefit of Tenant Advisors
A commercial real estate advisor can serve as the intermediary between tenants and landlords during negotiations, working to secure the most favorable terms on your behalf. By leveraging lease comps and market insights, we craft a strategy that maximizes your leverage while minimizing your effort. In some cases, tenants may need to evaluate other market options. The most advantageous position for a tenant is to have multiple lease proposals from competitive buildings. If your current landlord proves uncooperative, you’ll have the flexibility to relocate to a more attractive option.

Negotiating office and industrial leases requires expertise and can be time-consuming. Even the most amicable landlord-tenant relationships can encounter issues that strain the partnership. By enlisting the help of a specialized commercial real estate advisor familiar with your market, you can save both time and money as a tenant. Don’t leave your lease renewal to chance; let the professionals guide you toward a more favorable outcome.

Start the conversation with a member of our team today.

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