The overwhelming results are in! Tenants, tenant representative brokers, landlords, landlord brokers, and real estate attorneys from the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, responded to my recent blog post, entitled “Do Tenants Really Need Brokers When Negotiating Lease Renewals?“ We posted that title as a question in a Corporate Real Estate Group discussion forum in LinkedIn and received tremendous feedback every day for almost two weeks!
Not one single respondent said that tenants couldn’t benefit by engaging brokers, consultants, or advisors when negotiating renewals…not even the landlords! One landlord responded, saying ” Bring them on! I love doing renewal deals with tenants when they’re not properly represented!” indicating that he exercises greater negotiating leverage and achieves more favorable results for his company when tenants are not represented by brokers in renewal transactions.
I found some of the quotes to be very telling:
- Paul Wyne: “As a past director of real estate, I renewed over 40 leases. One of my goals was to make each lease contemporary. In 90% of the renewals, we achieved modifications”
- Bradley Siegel, Esq.: “As a lawyer, I recommend that tenants get representation as a way to level the playing field. I represent both landlords and tenants, and was the in-house General Counsel to a major NYC landlord for many years”
- Aaron Weiner, CPM, CCIM, LEED AP: ”In the US (I have done deals in 33 states), it is a given that the landlord pays both brokers, usually through a provision that the listing broker pays out of a standard commission; therefore, the landlord does not pay more if the tenant is represented”
- Mike Giles: “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a tenant just automatically renew its lease without negotiating, unless there was an auto-renewal clause and they missed a notice deadline”
- Gary Wells: “If one is relying on lease comparables to negotiate their transaction, they are probably months behind the market trend. Current market conditions, trends and nuances can only be understood by being “on the street”
- Craig Trbovich: “Even if you have real estate and contract experience, current market knowledge that will be invaluable. And being in the trenches every day is the only way to be current”
“Tenants often only see the rent as the headline cost and don’t appreciate the associated savings to be made through reviewing operating costs, insurance, etc.”
- “Is it just coincidence that many landlords tell their existing tenants NOT to retain brokers – that they’ll “end up paying more”? Additionally, a lease renewal should never be just about the rent – and the corporate executive who just focuses on that is probably missing the boat on other important considerations”
- “We renegotiate many key points in each lease, allowing for buyouts, terminations, removal of guaranty, etc.”
- “I represent both Tenant’s and Landlord’s. One would be crazy not to have tenant representation on a renewal!”
- “In renewal transactions, with the tenant hiring a broker, the cards are stacked all in the landlord’s favor. When a tenant hires a broker it tells the landlord that the tenant is serious about its renewal and that the landlord will have to treat the tenant fairly”
- “The tenant is ceding to the landlord an incredible amount of leverage not to have a tenant rep broker involved in the transaction”
- “As a property manager on the landlord’s side, I prefer working with a broker. To me, some of the toughest deals we do are renewals, and having a broker, even on the tenant’s side gets the deal done”
- “…negotiating a renewal gives the tenant an opportunity to renegotiate any risky language which may have been overlooked in the original lease”
- “As an in-house corporate real estate department manager I can attest to the benefits of broker representation during renewals. It is about more than securing a low rent, but it is also about best all around deal the best all around deal, streamlining the process, and making sure the information is always presented the way the tenant needs”
- “Extensions and renewal options should never be treated as simple extensions of the existing lease. They should be thoroughly negotiated with new lease terms reflecting today’s economic realities, current market valuations supported by site specific market data, and new priorities of the tenant’s business”
Most companies will go through significant operational and / or financial change between the time they first negotiate their lease and the time their lease will come up for renewal. As a result, most companies typically negotiate to modify their lease terms before extending their lease.
The punchline? Unless a tenant has truly qualified internal real estate resources and a keen understanding of lease transactions and structure, along with access to timely local market intelligence, the overwhelming majority of respondents strongly believe that “Tenants DO Need Brokers When Negotiating Renewals!”
Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations. Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America. By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.
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