Landlord Rents are Falling: National Office Vacancy Climbs 

We recently read an article in Connect Commercial Real Estate highlighting how national office vacancy continues to climb. Rent growth, on the other hand, has headed into an incline in the last two quarters. This means that there is potential for tenants to lease office space for less than before.

From Connect Commercial Real Estate:

“The national office vacancy rate climbed 0.1% to 16.6% in the second quarter, according to research by Reis. Vacancy increased in 39 of 79 metros in the quarter, with just two metros posting a decline in effective rent, as the gap between the “better” office markets and lagging ones widens and gets more pronounced. […] Rent growth, in contrast, was healthier in the last two quarters than in the previous seven, as a number of metros had rent growth of 1% or more in the quarter and 4% for the year. The stronger metros helped buoy the national average more so than in previous quarters.”

This article is a great example of how a landlord rents are falling. If you want to learn how to lease space for less as a tenant, contact David Massie at DJM Commercial at 805-217-0791 or david@djmcre.com – we can help! For more details, read the full article here.

How Retail Tenants are Saving on Rent Right Now

We recently read an article in Bis Now highlighting how small retailers are finding their opening while old giants shrink. The general premise is that retail landlords are willing, more and more, to take on smaller retailers by dividing up their spaces and leasing them out where they can instead of holding off for the big fish that probably isn’t coming.

From Bis Now:

“As the country’s largest retailers struggle to adapt to 21st century consumer demands, retail landlords are increasingly willing to slice up their space, take on riskier tenant options and offer flexible lease terms — and smaller retailers are reaping the benefits. […] The market has been marred with a number of big-name store closures in the city. But brokers said the conditions are paving the way for smaller retailers to get their foot in the door, as increasingly desperate landlords stop holding out for the national operators with established track records.”

This article is a great example of how a retail tenant can save on rent right now. Even better news? We can help. Contact David Massie at 805-217-0791 or david@djmcre.com if you are a retail tenant and you want to find a great deal on a retail space like mentioned in the article. For more details, read the full article here.

Westlake Village Medical, Dental or Office Space for Lease in Prime Location

We have a fantastic property for lease currently. This existing dental office is in a prime Westlake Village location and the price was just reduced from $1.95/SF/month to $1.50/SF/month. This space is not limited to dental office use though. The office can be used for dental, medical or even office uses.

This amazing location has the best of both worlds. It sits appealingly at end of a quiet cul de sac while also being walking distance to retail, the post office and many other amenities nearby.

There are several opportunities with this location as the landlord will allow new prospective tenants to sublease all or part of the space. The landlord is also giving the option to have the lease assigned or do a direct lease, your choice.

This really is the perfect opportunity to dive in on a prime Westlake Village location with a sublease or a direct lease with low rent for dental, medical or office space. Interested in learning more? Full property details can be found by clicking here.

Contact us today for more information! Call 805-217-0791 or email david@djmcre.com

Agoura Hills City Mall Retail Spaces for Lease!

If you have a retail business, including a restaurant, and would like to join existing successful tenants with a great location, this is a great opportunity for you! The Agoura Hills City Mall currently has openings for new retail spaces. Most recently, there is new restaurant space available at what is now a current Pizza Hut and a new location for a smoothie / yogurt / coffee or dessert location available!

A few of the already established and thriving businesses in this shopping center include: Agoura’s Famous Deli, Vincitori, Sushi Wasabi, Maral Cuisine, Citibank, Kanan Pharmacy, California Dance Theatre, I Love Kickboxing, Journey Martial Arts, Agoura Mexican Café and more!

The landlord has agreed to give a reasonable amount of time for you to construct your retail space, without having to pay rent! This location comes with a new common area, improvements and renovations. Some of the spaces have outdoor patios. The space is great, but the location is truly what can’t be beat.

The Agoura Hills City Mall is adjacent to two major retail centers anchored by large grocery and drug stores. The location also includes great signage that is visible from Kanan Road. It’s located on Kanan Road near Thousand Oaks Boulevard. This is a main and busy intersection that’s less than one mile north of the Ventura Freeway (101) on Kanan Road for easy access! For those that don’t know, Kanan Road is the main road in Agoura Hills linking to the Ventura (101) Freeway. The shopping mall is centered in an area with great demographics; there are over 100,000 people in a 5 mile radius. Click here for more property listing details and additional photos.

Contact us today for more information about introducing your business to this busy retail center with great traffic from local residents as well as the nearby schools! 805-217-0791 or david@djmcre.com

Full Service Hair Salon For Sale in Busy Retail Center

The full service hair salon BLO is for sale in Newbury Park in a busy retail center. This property has great potential! It’s an upscale hair salon located in a high traffic area that’s right off the 101 freeway. This sale is a turnkey deal that will include established clientele as well as stylists ready to transition right into your new business.

Also includes:

  • Modern décor with all fixtures custom built
  • A waiting area with a beverage station
  • A reception desk
  • 6-7 hair stations, 1 makeup station, a color processing area with two seats, 2 shampoo bowls, and a dispensary with a full washer and dryer
  • The inventory is included in the asking price

This is a great opportunity for buyers. The property is 900 sf and has a private office that can be used as additional storage. The salon includes a retail display, a camera system throughout the premises for security, lots of free parking and more. This space is conveniently located in a newly renovated shopping center with no major competition in the immediate area! This is a truly great buying opportunity in Newbury Park. Click here for more details on the property!

Options to Renew Your Lease: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

You are a tenant leasing some kind of commercial space like retail, office, industrial or otherwise.  You were smart and negotiated at least one option to renew your lease.  But, should you exercise that option to renew?  Do you really understand what conditions in which it would be favorable or not to exercise this option?

In my market in Southern California, most landlords will grant a tenant who is leasing commercial space an option to renew their lease for one additional lease term that is less or equal to their original term.  For example, if you leased for a 5 year term then you could usually negotiate a 5 year or less option to renew.  If you leased for 10 years, you might get one 10 year option to renew or perhaps two 5 year options to renew.

But here is where it gets tricky.  It’s generally not in your best interest to exercise your option to renew. Instead, you should think of it as a last resort.  Option to renew language usually contains a certain minimum rent to the landlord. For instance, it may be no less than what you were paying at the end of you current term or maybe it has a 3% bump above what you are paying at that time.  I have found that market rents are usually lower than what your option to renew requires you to pay.  And what about current market tenant concessions like free rent, improvements, etc.?  You will most likely miss out on these.

Another provision that option to renew language usually contains is that the lease (except for the rent) will be on the same terms and conditions.  So, if there is a clause in your lease that needs to be negotiated you may want to reconsider the option to renew.  These clauses could include receiving a new base year for operating expense increases for an office tenant or excluding unreasonable lease clauses from applying. For instance, certain Triple Net clauses could be excluded for a retail tenant if you negotiated your renewal instead, but these exclusions won’t apply if you simply exercise your option to renew.

What is a tenant to do?  Hire a good commercial broker to help.  This broker will know the current market rents and be able to review the lease with you and recommend all necessary changes.  If the broker is active in your area, then the landlord will be concerned that this broker might relocate you to another building if the landlord isn’t fair.  You simply don’t have the same clout without a good broker and you won’t get as good of a deal.  But do it at least 6-12 months in advance of when your current lease terminates or at least 3 months before you have to exercise your option to renew so your broker and you have time to review your needs and options. One other really good thing that happens when you don’t exercise your option to renew, but rather negotiate your renewal, is that your option to renew many times gets left in place and is still valid the next time your lease terminates.

I have successfully represented many commercials tenants for renewals for their leases and not just new leases.  I can’t remember the last time I didn’t do much better than the tenant could do on their own.  Many times the landlords end up paying my fee for the tenant’s renewal just like they always do when I represent a tenant for a new lease.

For more information about commercial leasing, buying, and selling please contact David Massie at DJM Commercial Real Estate at 505-217-0791 or david@djmcre.com.

Commercial Real Estate Dual Representation: Possibly Illegal Soon?

Assembly Bill 1059 has been introduced to the California Legislature to ban commercial real estate dual agency relationships. Specifically, the bill “would prohibit an agent from acting as a dual agent in a commercial real estate transaction,” and also prevent different individuals in the same firm from “acting as an agent for both a seller and buyer in the same commercial real estate transaction.”

There are many pro landlord groups opposing this bill like AIR CRE.  Why?  In my opinion, it’s because it will help the tenant and buyer and reduce the profit of the landlord and seller.  Just read some of the weak arguments made by AIR CRE here.  All of them primarily have to do with a landlord or seller making less money or not doing as well somehow.  Don’t you feel sorry for them?

Dual Representation is not legally allowed in many states.  Why?  Because it can’t be done without violating ethical issues as there are simply too many conflicts of interest.  The tenant/buyer loses big time and the owners and their brokers gain big time. This is why so many brokers and owners are in favor of it.

For 25 years I worked as a landlord and seller and directed some very large real estate companies that owned millions of square feet of commercial property across the US and even internationally.  Many brokers wanted my business because I could give them 5 or 6 figure salaries off some of my properties in any one region that I controlled.  As a landlord, I loved it when my brokers were able to do dual representations because I had a great amount of leverage over the brokers who worked for me.  If they, or anyone in their firm representing a tenant/buyer, pushed too hard for a tenant/buyer at one of my properties –all I had to do was hint that they might not be able to keep my listings.  Would a broker risk losing a 5 or 6 figure salary working for me over one deal where they also represented the tenant/buyer?  Not likely.  That is all it took for the tenant/buyer to not get as good of a deal as they could have received had they used another broker from another firm; a firm that was not affiliated with a listing broker who worked for me or that wasn’t trying to get listings from me.  This is why dual representations shouldn’t be done.

Even though dual representations are legal in California, I won’t do them.  They should be outlawed.  Ask any good real estate attorney how it goes in court when they have to defend a broker for a dual representation. Attorneys that I have spoken with that have experience in this matter have said “it’s not a matter of whether they can win the case but rather of how much they can settle for”.  This is because these attorneys know that it is impossible for a broker to represent both parties correctly without fault.

Can you imagine an attorney who has represented a large property owner for decades attempting to also represent a tenant in a dispute in court?  It wouldn’t be possible to represent both parties fairly.  It doesn’t happen. This is the same reason why dual broker representation should not happen.

Every tenant/buyer should hire a broker that doesn’t have any conflict of interest with a landlord/seller or their broker.  The landlord/seller pays the tenant/buyer’s broker’s commission so it costs the tenant nothing.

Brokerage firms that specialize primarily in representing tenants/buyers are a very good choice because they don’t have the conflicts mentioned above.  If a tenant/buyer is thinking of representing themselves –that can potentially be even worse.  Hire an experienced broker who only has your interests in mind instead.  You will save a lot of time, money and headaches if you use the right broker.

How to Terminate a Commercial Lease Early

Many of my clients have stated, “I don’t want to sign a long term lease like 5 years or more because I’m not sure I will be in business that long or might need more or less space.”   My answer to them?  It’s usually in their best interest to sign a long term lease and there are ways to terminate a lease early.

Signing a longer term lease between 5-10 years makes good sense for many reasons.  You normally get the best economic deal that way with lower rent, more free rent and more tenant improvements paid by the landlord.  You normally get more options like renewal options with more time.   You don’t have to worry about moving sooner either or having to pay a much higher rent in 1-3 years if the market rates increase.  Keep in mind that many landlords won’t agree to less than a 5 year term, especially for space in demand where another party will lease it for 5-10 years, so it will really limit your options for properties if you want to do less than a 5 year term.

If you need to terminate a lease early, you have many options available to you.  You can request an early termination option of the landlord in your lease, but most landlords don’t like to grant them.   If they do, they want enough time to release your space so a 6-12 month notice from you might be required.  You might then have to pay back unamortized tenant concessions like free rent and tenant improvements.  But this is still a good option to have if you can get it.

What if you can’t get the landlord to agree to an early termination option?  There are still other good options like having the right to relocate in the project to a larger or smaller location.  You also generally have rights to sublease or assign your lease to another qualified tenant.

If none of the above options work out, then you can still legally terminate a lease in most states like California.  Courts usually require a landlord to mitigate a tenant’s damages.  This usually means the landlord has to take reasonable steps to re-lease the space, but this mitigation usually only starts after you vacate the space –not while you are in it.  However, I have seen most legal awards and arbitrations settle between 6-12 months of rent.  This is generally the most a landlord can squeeze out of a tenant in Southern California.  This can be a tricky matter, so you have to make sure you do it right and use someone familiar with the process like me or a good real estate attorney. You might need both.  But I have been very successful negotiating an early lease termination for my clients.

Contact David Massie for more help:   805-217-0791 or david@djmcre.com

Commercial Landlords and How Their Reputations Affect Leasing

Most commercial landlords that I deal with don’t seem to understand the relationship between leasing their office, retail or industrial buildings, and their reputation in the community.  It’s pretty simple really.  If a landlord has a poor reputation, it will make it harder for them to lease their building spaces.

Here is a prime example.  Before I was a full time commercial real estate broker, I worked directly as the Director of Leasing and Property Management for a large landlord who owned more than 50 commercial buildings. There were many different types of commercial buildings -usually office, retail or industrial spaces.  Before I accepted this job position, I found out that the local brokers whom I knew well and worked with closely did not like working with this landlord -my new employer.  So, I convinced the landlord to let me leverage my relationships with the brokerage community for 6 months to see if it made a difference in our leasing.  Guess what?  In my first year, I negotiated and completed over 125 commercial leases!  This was more than double the number of commercial leases than anyone else that had the job before me.

Another example is when I had just finished acting as an expert witness where I had to go into court and testify that the landlord had ripped off a tenant for over 15 years.  This included millions of dollars related to the tenant’s share of NNN/operating expenses.  Our side won the case.  But the landlord didn’t just lose this case and have to pay my client back for millions of dollars, he also lost the trust of my client going forward and the trust of the other tenants, brokers, attorneys, other people in the community, and so many more.

Think about it Mr. Landlord.  If you treat your tenants poorly, and try to cheat them on their share of their operating expenses or add expenses that aren’t reasonable (even though maybe legally allowed), you are going to have poor relationships moving forward. If you don’t care about their business and working with them in ways to help them do better, have an unfair lease, or don’t check in with them regularly on how they like being a tenant and how they are doing, etc. -then your landlord reputation will hurt your leasing.  People talk.  And they will talk about you not being a good landlord.

My clients ask me all of the time for intelligence on a landlord.  I tell them what I know and when I tell them that a particular landlord is difficult to deal with, doesn’t have a good reputation or has a lease form that is unfair, etc. then many times this client will simply opt to not even consider the property owned by the landlord with a poor reputation.

My advice to landlords:  Treat your tenants like clients and not tenants.  Treat them like you would like to be treated.  You as the landlord many times have the upper hand in so many ways and if you use this leverage incorrectly you are making a mistake.  Tenants are your life blood and you need them as clients not just tenants.

If you are a landlord and want more information on how you can change your reputation, please contact me as I have many ideas on how to do this.  Some of these include calculating NNN and operating expense increases correctly and fairly, fair lease documents, correct property maintenance, and general things that will make your clients (tenants) want to stay in your building and new ones want to lease there.

Contact David Massie for more help: 805-217-0791 or david@djmcre.com

Tenants Need to Hire a Specialist to Audit Their Lease / Operating Expenses

You are a busy tenant running your business.  You receive your annual reconciliation of your share of expenses from your landlord about April each year.  These expenses go by different names, but are usually called NNN in retail and larger industrial spaces and operating expense increases for office and smaller industrial spaces.

The landlord reconciliation usually just shows the breakdown of each expense category, what your percentage share is, and how much you owed for the year.  You usually have been paying estimates all year so you might owe some or actually might receive a credit if you have overpaid.

Can you tell if this reconciliation is correct on your own?  I doubt it.  Most tenants that even think they can really can’t and don’t know what they are missing.  Landlords usually don’t send you enough information on the reconciliation to tell if it’s correct.  You need someone that specializes in understanding your lease and also that knows how to properly audit this reconciliation.  It’s kind of a combination between a real estate attorney and a CPA, but even having both of these on your side will probably not cover all of your bases in this area and it would be costly to use both.  There is a better way to do, it in my opinion.

I just finished acting as an expert witness in a legal matter related to a tenant vs. a landlord where the landlord overbilled the tenant for over a million dollars for their share of NNN expenses.  The tenant who I represented won the case and this has happened many times where I have been involved as an expert witness.  In my experience, I have found that landlords commonly overbill tenants and have many profit centers in their expenses that should not be there.  There are also other things in a lease beyond these types of expenses that give you financial exposure that you probably don’t even know are there.  These need to be understood and you need to be ready for them if and when they happen.

My background preparing these types of reconciliations for landlords spans over 25 years, thousands of tenant reconciliations, and hundreds of negotiations and lease audits for this type of expense reconciliation.  I also was in a position for the last 6 years of my landlord side career to negotiate over 100 leases per year. I am considered by many real estate attorneys to be an expert with a lease form whether retail, office or industrial.  Put the two types of aforementioned experiences together and you have a specialist in this expense share area like me that can really help a tenant like you.

You can hire me on a contingency or hourly basis, but it depends on your situation as to which is best.  I will be able to advise you on this in less than an hour usually and can usually tell if there is problem with your reconciliation.  Not getting it checked every year is a costly mistake.  So, if you want my help to make sure your share has been calculated correctly or you need an expert witness in this area for a legal matter or a full lease audit, please call me.

805-217-0791

david@djmcre.com