Let’s Put The Landlord in the Poor House, and Other Stupid Statements

How many times have I heard commercial tenants say “I don’t care about the landlord!”?  That’s pretty dumb (and, right up there with landlords who don’t care about their tenants!).  Why wouldn’t a tenant care about the business entity that is responsible for the very foundation (literally, the foundation of the building!), that supports their ability to efficiently and profitably conduct business on a daily basis? 

The role of a tenant advisor is to determine the optimal achievable transaction structure on the tenant’s behalf, advise the tenant as to how it can achieve those terms, and to execute its tenant’s preferred transactions. But, even halfway decent advisors recognize that in order to accomplish this, they must first understand the objectives, risks, and challenges of landlords. 

Understanding your opponent in any contest is the foundation of victory.  Too many unqualified or ill prepared real estate licensees (I use that term here to differentiate this subset of the industry from those who really know what they’re doing!), run their tenants headlong into real estate transactions without really knowing where to go.  These brokers are often long on salesmanship (and telemarketing skills), short on precise knowledge, and even shorter on true expertise. 

Tenants who take a ‘Let’s grab every dime we can!” attitude can shoot themselves in the foot as they either drive the landlord so far that it refuses to enter into a transaction, or jockey the landlord into position such that he / she agrees to bad terms in the hopes of making-up the difference on the next lease, only to put the building in financial jeopardy.  That’s not the best way to protect a tenant’s interests! 

Tenants rarely need every possible right and option under the sun, so that they tie the landlord’s hands and restrict its ability to lease the rest of the space in the building.  Tenants do need leases that provide favorable terms, flexibility, low and predictable costs, with no surprises.  They also require financially sound landlords who can and will provide the services to which they commit. 

Tenants don’t need to put landlords in the poor house.  These days, doing that is a lot easier to accomplish, especially if tenants and their brokers aren’t careful.  Writing as a tenant advocate, landlords need the ability to stay in business, pay their mortgages, refinance their buildings, provide services to tenants, manage risk, sustain their own companies, and “Yes”, generate profits, whether those profits come now or later. 

Mounting a well-planned, well-armed negotiation with commercial landlords requires knowledge, resources, and skill.  Never “bring a knife to a gun fight” as they say.  Commercial landlords can be some of the most well trained, well armed, and aggressive fighters on the business battlefield, and many of them have some pretty big guns.  Accordingly, tenants would be well advised to bring tanks, jet fighters, and battleships, or at least a missle or two when negotiating with certain landlords! 

The special challenge in a successful negotiation, for both tenants and their advisors, is to determine in advance those terms that the tenant really needs to achieve its objectives and to negotiate aggressively to succeed in securing the right terms, while being mindful of keeping their landlord in business.  This is a wise approach, even when dealing with one of those few remaining landlords that doesn’t have a sense of fair play, could care less about the tenant, and is too plain greedy and self-absorbed to recognize the tenant’s good efforts and the true interdependent relationship that, when respected, gives tenants and landlords what they both need…the tools to succeed and prosper.

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.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Acquire new ideas about commercial real estate at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat and Andrew Zezas at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

Check out The Executive’s Guide to Understanding Corporate Real Estate Transactions.

Where is Andrew Zezas?

 

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved. 

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THIS WORK IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE PRACTICAL AND USEFUL INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT MATTER COVERED AND REPRESENTS THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR. HOWEVER, IT IS PROVIDED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE AUTHOR IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE TO THE READER. IF LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE SOUGHT. THE AUTHOR SPECIFICALLY AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY THAT MAY BE INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OR APPLICATION OF THE INFORMATION THAT IS CONTAINED IN THIS WORK.

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