HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Look for a property manager who can help you keep rent as competitive as possible. Your property manager should have a plan for keeping Common Area Maintenance (CAM) and Taxes & Insurance (TI) as low as possible. A price difference of only a few cents per square foot could add up to tens of thousands of dollars per year.  Your property management company should have a strong enough business network that can provide the kinds of services you need for the lowest price possible.  Maybe your property manager can negotiate deals with landscapers, repair people and other service providers that you wouldn’t be able to get yourself.  An experienced property manager has knowledge of local property taxes and appraisal values.  Keeping CAM and TI costs down mean that you can make improvements to your property and keep tenant rent as competitive as possible.  That could mean the difference between a tenant choosing to rent from you versus the strip mall across the street.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of commercial property management.  Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

WE'VE DECIDED NOT TO RENEW

 Few words are more unwelcome to a property manager’s ears.  Some tenant loss is inevitable as companies expand, downsize or change their focus.  Implementing the following principles will both improve your tenants’ overall experience and prevent problems before they arise. This will keep your commercial tenants happy and will most likely improve your bottom line.

            1. Keep the property safe.  Making safety your No. 1 priority will make tenants feel secure.  Conduct regular safety inspections and be sure to communicate your safety concerns to your tenants as well.  Landscaped areas often get overlooked when it comes to safety. Inspect them regularly for tripping hazards such as eroded areas, fallen limbs and heaving pavement due to overgrown tree roots. Also, be sure shrubbery is trimmed back and your outdoor areas are well lit to deter would-be assailants.  

            2. Keep it pleasant.  A clean and well-maintained property will command higher rent and encourage tenants to stay.  Be sure to inspect your properties regularly for aesthetic as well as mechanical issues. Don’t underestimate the importance of “comfort”. Something as simple as installing a thermostat so tenants can adjust the temperature of their space will make a big difference in the level of satisfaction.

            3. Make it easy. In all interactions with tenants, consider their point of view. For you, property management is your primary business. For them, it’s an interruption.  Set up systems that make it easy for your tenants to pay their rent.  Setting up a system that automatically drafts payment is a good option.

            4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.  Much of the time when tenants are dissatisfied, it’s due to miscommunication or not understanding.  Keep your tenants in the loop about any upcoming changes and ask them how they feel their needs are being met.

Keeping these four golden principles of tenant relations—safety, comfort, convenience and communication—top of mind will help pave the way toward better tenant retention.

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters

THE WORK ETHIC

When it comes to commercial property management services and achieving your ownership goals, let us not forget how important tenant relationships are.  Some of the building’s best assets are the tenants themselves.  To increase tenant retention, we establish programs to enhance the owner’s relationship with tenants and increase camaraderie and business cooperation among adjacent tenants.  In addition to working proactively to manage lease expirations and renewals, we support future leasing efforts by routinely soliciting tenant feedback and taking action.  This opens face-to-face casual interaction improving word-of-mouth discussions among tenants and can help property marketing efforts.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of commercial property management.  Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

Assignment & Subletting – Commercial Leasing

Most commercial leases prohibit a tenant from assigning or subleasing the leased premises to another party without first obtaining the landlord’s consent.  Often, a commercial tenant will execute a lease failing to insert language that a landlord will act reasonably when a tenant requests the landlord’s consent to an assignment or sublease.  A tenant, at the very least should negotiate that a landlord’s consent to an assignment or sublease should “not be unreasonably withheld, conditioned or delayed.” 

A tenant needs to be concerned with this clause because most tenants do not realize that they could be in default under a lease simply because of (i) the death of a shareholder; (ii) the sale of the company and/or (iii) the reorganization of their company.  I have known landlords to hold up the sale/merger of a company because the landlord wants to renegotiate the lease as a condition to granting an assignment. 

A tenant should attempt to have the lease permit certain assignments or subleases without obtaining the landlord’s consent, such as assignments to an affiliate company. 

We are here to help you and your clients!

 

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

GO-DARK

What is a “Go-Dark” clause in a commercial lease?  Most leases require you to continuously operate your business while you are leasing space in the property and if you violate your center's hours of operation or close down completely, you could end up in default. A go-dark clause gives you the opportunity to shut down your operation without sanction from the landlord as long as you continue paying your rent.  Landlords frequently oppose granting go-dark clauses because they can lead to rolling vacancies as tenants move out to avoid being in a center with gradually shrinking traffic. One of the lease terms that a landlord may offer you instead is a go-dim clause that requires you to modify the way you operate or your operation hours to reduce your costs.  Another option that your lease may contain is a recapture clause. Recapture lease terms let your landlord take your space back and cancel your lease obligations if you go dark. While this can be valuable if you want to get out of the space, it also means that going dark could make you lose your space once and for all if the landlord recaptures it.

THERE ARE NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, MADE WITH RESPECT TO THIS COMMUNICATION. NOTHING FOUND HEREIN SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS AN ATTEMPT TO OFFER OR RENDER A LEGAL OPINION OR OTHERWISE ENGAGE IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW. YOU SHOULD OBTAIN THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY WELL VERSED IN THESE MATTERS.

 

What is an SNDA document agreement? 

A subordination, non-disturbance and attornment (SNDA) agreement is actually three agreements in one.  The "subordination" portion permits a lender of the property to become superior to the lien of the tenant's lease.  The "non-disturbance" agreement protects the tenant as it permits the lease to stay in force so long as tenant is not in default.  The "attornment" agreement creates a contractual bond between tenant and lender in which the tenant agrees it will recognize the lender as landlord in the event the landlord defaults on the mortgage.  The SNDA language has taken on a new importance in this economic environment in which it is no longer shocking to learn that a landlord has walked away from its real estate after defaulting on the mortgage.

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

Enforceable or is it?

Who needs to sign a commercial lease in order to make it enforceable? 

Just as in other legal contracts, corporate authority and the enforceability of the signatories must be considered when negotiating a lease.  The question of who must sign a lease in order for it to be enforceable is a question of state law and the terms of the governing documents of the business leasing the rental.  Unless a tenant can provide proof that the person signing the lease is in fact authorized to do so, a landlord is at risk of a claim that the lease was not dully authorized and is therefore not binding.

It is also important to confirm that the tenant entity is in good standing in the state where it was formed and is qualified to do business in the state in which the premises are located.

We are here to help you and your clients!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

What is this thing called "Quiet Enjoyment"?

In a commercial lease, quiet enjoyment is the most fundamental and often misunderstood right obtained by a tenant.  The covenant of quiet enjoyment means more than just a noise-free environment.  It is a more troublesome obligation that provides that the landlord will not interfere with a tenant's right of possession or tenant's enjoyment of the leased premises.  In most leases, the covenant is written in the lease document, setting out the parameters for quiet enjoyment. 

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

When it comes to commercial real estate management services and achieving your ownership goals, let us not forget how important tenant relationships are.  Most firms quantify asset value on a balance sheet.  We take a holistic approach to real estate management, realizing that some of the building’s best assets are the tenants themselves.  In order to increase tenant retention, we establish programs to enhance the owner’s relationship with tenants and increase camaraderie and business cooperation among adjacent tenants.  In addition to working proactively to manage lease expirations and renewals, we support future leasing efforts by routinely soliciting tenant feedback and taking action.  This opens face-to-face casual interaction improving word-of-mouth discussions among tenants and can help property marketing efforts.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of commercial property management.  Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

SEATTLE MULTI-FAMILY REGULATION

In 2015, the City of Seattle passed an ordinance requiring owners of certain multi‑family properties to provide advance notice to the City prior to listing the property for sale (the “Ordinance”). This Bulletin outlines the Ordinance and provides information on brokers’ disclosure obligations arising from the Ordinance.
 
The Ordinance requires owners of multi-family properties containing five or more units, where at least one of the units is affordable to a household earning 80% or less of area median income, to notify the City of their intent to sell their property at least sixty (60) days prior to advertising the property for sale or listing it with a listing service. A penalty of up to $500.00 may be assessed against owners who fail to comply. Information about whether a property is subject to the notice requirements in the ordinance and where to send the required notice is available at www.seattle.gov/housing/intent-to-sell. The Ordinance is codified at Seattle Municipal Code Sections 29.907.030 and 29.907.100.

Brokers should provide their sellers with written notice of the Ordinance’s requirements, and should refrain from offering to pay the fine for non‑compliance. Ignorance of the notice requirement will not immunize a broker from a potential claim for failing to notify a seller of the Ordinance. While it is ultimately the seller’s choice to comply with the Ordinance, it would be best for brokers to have written confirmation of the disclosure to the Seller and imprudent for a broker to advise against compliance.

 Brokers should provide their sellers with written notice of the Ordinance’s requirements, and should refrain from offering to pay the fine for non‑compliance. Ignorance of the notice requirement will not immunize a broker from a potential claim for failing to notify a seller of the Ordinance. While it is ultimately the seller’s choice to comply with the Ordinance, it would be best for brokers to have written confirmation of the disclosure to the Seller and imprudent for a broker to advise against compliance.

“There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters”

 

Negotiating a commercial lease with a large national company as the tenant

For most landlords when negotiating a lease with a tenant the procedure is routine.  A broker calls with a potential tenant, the landlord does some due diligence and sends over its fine-tuned landlord/attorney-drafted lease, the parties negotiate and the lease is signed with some modest modifications. When a national retail or service company comes calling, the rules of the game can change.  A national tenant brings with it instant name recognition and the prospect of increased foot traffic for the landlord's other tenants.  Many landlords may find themselves willing to do whatever it takes to sign a lease with this national tenant, even one who essentially wants to play by its own rules.  Unfortunately, along with these potential benefits, a national tenant also brings with it a tenant-drafted and tenant-slanted lease. If the decision is made to work with the national tenant's lease, careful reading and creativity are required.  Although it is unlikely that landlords will be able to completely re-work a national tenant's lease to the point where it is pro-landlord, keeping key negotiating provisions in mind should help landlords minimize the risks inherent in reaping the benefits of leasing to a national tenant.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the commercial property management market. Please contact us for further assistance!  

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters

Buying A Commercial Building?

Regardless of your reason, if you choose to be a landlord, there are resources available to you, including those provided by local real estate boards, real estate networking groups, and property management software.  If you are purchasing commercial property - especially of a type with which you are either somewhat or completely unfamiliar, and/or if you are looking to manage a large portfolio of properties, you are likely better off employing the services of a property manager or property management firm in order to reduce potential liability. 

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the commercial property management market. Please contact us for further assistance! 

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

COMMERCIAL LEASES - TENANTS RIGHTS

In general, the rights of commercial tenants are inscribed in the lease.  Courts tend to decide cases based on adherence to lease terms even if the terms seem to violate aspects of basic fairness.  Residential tenants have far more protections than commercial tenants do under the law.  For example, there are protections for residential tenants in instances of foreclosure, lack of landlord maintenance, and entry to the property by the landlord.  To facilitate a positive landlord-tenant relationship, spell out lease terms clearly.  Regarding entry to the property by the landlord, define what constitutes “adequate notice” clearly in your lease.  This is especially important for tenants whose businesses require some level of confidentiality.  Make sure that you ensure more than adequate notice in cases of invasive maintenance that may affect your tenant’s business operation.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of commercial property management.  Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

 

LOST INCOME – LOST TENANT

It can take up to two years to make up for the income lost when a tenant vacates instead of renewing the lease.  The chance of lease renewal by a satisfied tenant is triple the chance of lease renewal by a dissatisfied tenant.  To ensure that your commercial real estate tenants are satisfied with their residence in your property, it is important to develop a strategic plan for tenant management.  The plan should include an assessment of, and a plan to meet, their real estate needs.  You should develop a regular communications program with a single point of contact as well as an assessment program to measure the level of tenant satisfaction.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the commercial property management. Please contact us for further assistance!

 There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

 

 

Engineering Repairs

Engineering repairs can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars.  Preventive maintenance is key to ensuring building mechanicals (heating and air conditioning systems, chillers, fan motors and variable air volume boxes, etc.) don’t break down unexpectedly.  Create a preventive maintenance schedule to make sure everything runs smoothly.  If properly inspected and lubricated, most equipment should last 25 to 35 years.

We are here to help you with all aspects of commercial property management.  Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

 

energy efficiency

One of the common challenges of maintaining a commercial facility is energy efficiency.  With so many tenants to manage, it’s difficult to make energy efficiency a priority.  Watch out for energy eaters.  Try having your cleaning crew come in during the day when less artificial light is needed and consider using occupancy sensors to ensure lights are not being used unless someone is in the room.  In addition, you can investigate whether electronic equipment throughout the building offers an “energy savings” option. 

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.



AS-IS

In a commercial lease, does “as is” really mean that the tenant takes the premises “as is”?  Even though that may be the intention of the parties, there may be laws that preclude a landlord from completely passing the buck on certain issues, such as environmental cleanup and hazardous waste.  Also, the law sometimes requires mandatory disclosure of defective conditions or other problems with the premises or property.

We are are to help you and your clients with all aspects of commercial property management. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.