When is the right time to negotiate your office lease renewal?

One question I always get has to do with an approaching lease expiration. How much in advance should we start negotiating for a renewal? The answer is that whether you are relocating to a new space or staying where you are, the time frame is the same. The reason is that in order to achieve optimal leverage and optimal results in a renewal negotiation, you need to retain the perception that it is possible for your business to relocate. A relocation from site selection, negotiating business terms, negotiating the legal terms of the lease, submitting for permits, and construction can take 12-18 months. If you are planning to stay where you are and approach your landlord only 3-6 months prior to your lease expiration, they can be quite certain that you have not spoken to other properties and will present an offer reflective of the knowledge that they are not competing to retain your tenancy. In a lease negotiation, time provides the tenant with leverage. So do competing offers. Consequently, I recommend giving yourself a minimum of 12 months lead time (18 months if you are above 10,000 rsf) to begin researching the market for competitive offers. The earlier you approach your landlord, especially if you approach them with another offer in hand, the more likely you are to get fair market terms.