Up-and-coming areas can be a scary concept for some business owners. One day you’re paying low rent in a semi-popular part of town, then a few years pass and the area is booming, people and other businesses are flocking over and rent is skyrocketing. However, you don’t have to pay a fortune in rent or change locations if you take the right precautions. Here’s how you can hold onto your prime real estate at a fair rate.
Stipulate a Rental Rate
When negotiating the renewal clause in a lease, oftentimes there is a fair market value clause that leaves negotiation of rental rates open for when an area grows in popularity. But fair market value leaves too much freedom for the landlord to hike up the rates to match the new standard, which could end up being well above your budget. One benefit to using a good broker is that they know to negotiate for a specific rental rate based upon a finite escalation instead of relying on a fair market value agreement. This ensures that the you can afford the future rental rates and also reflects the increase of growth in the area.
Negotiate a Right to Terminate
The termination option is also an extremely valuable piece of negotiation leverage. A landlord will not offer this unsolicited. For leases longer than five years, it is very helpful to have a termination right. By negotiating this into the lease, should rates dip below market value, then you will be able to exercise the right to terminate and move or use this as leverage to reduce your rate. Conversely, if rents have skyrocketed, you can utilize the leverage of the termination right to extend your lease and keep your rates below market for the foreseeable future.
Sublease Your Space
Another option you can consider when the rent goes up is to sublease. As always, any business leasing a space should work with a broker to ensure that a sublease clause is included in the lease. From there, if the ability to sublease is allowed, you can move elsewhere to pay a lower rate while subleasing your original space to help offset the overall costs. This is especially beneficial if you are able to reduce your square footage as well.
Maintaining your presence in a popular area all comes down to your lease. Working with a reliable broker to negotiate the correct terms can take the stress out of rising market rates and give you peace of mind about staying in your space.
Commercial leasing agreements commonly extend up to 10 years – or longer – making negotiations key to long-term savings for your business. One of the greatest opportunities to reduce your monthly cost is rent abatement, or free rent. As you begin the discussion with a Lessor, it is important to understand what rent abatement is and how it can be used to your advantage.
Do You Qualify for Rent Abatement?
Unless there are extenuating circumstances at play, rent abatement is a provision best considered during new or renewal lease negotiations. This is when the Lessee has the most leverage, especially if a business has already shown itself to be an ideal tenant at the current or a previous property.
Why Would a Landlord Provide Free Rent?
If you are a new business needing time to get up and running, or even an established business faced with moving costs and possibly contributing funds to a buildout of your space, the Landlord should understand that you will need some time to build cash reserves back up before the payment of rent commences. If the Tenant is providing the Landlord a large cash security deposit, this is great leverage to negotiate more months of abatement. Furthermore, the cost of acquiring valuable tenants – tenants that take care of the space and pay rent on time – is not insignificant to the Landlord. Leasing commissions, background checks and potential lost rent due to time the space would sit on the market are just a few factors they need to take into consideration when faced with negotiating leasing terms. Potential or current tenants can position rent abatement as a concession that benefits both parties.
How Can You Have this Added to My Lease?
Many business owners don’t realize rent abatement is an option, so simply knowing about and presenting this as an option during negotiations is half the battle. When entering into a discussion with a landlord, present this incentive as one of several the Lessor can provide to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. All negotiations are a give-and-take, and ultimately the Landlord needs to know they will not be losing money in the process. Rent abatement is one of the key terms that can be negotiated, along with tenant improvement dollars and rental rate, in order for both the Tenant and the Landlord to feel they’ve achieved a mutually beneficial deal.
For more of Tenant Advisory Group’s expert tips for negotiating your commercial lease, click here.