June 17, 2020
There’s new leverage and new considerations for businesses transitioning office space or re-upping a lease this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Our leasing director gives three considerations for re-signing or starting a new lease as we continue to work through the changes COVID-19 brought to the workplace.
1) Landlord services
Companies are aiming to bring their teams safely back to the office and also determine which functions/departments can truly stay productive remotely. There are new questions leaseholders should be asking their landlords about cleaning services provided as well as the technology available to aid the remote/in-office arrangement of their teams. We’d recommend paying more attention and reviewing the landlord services listed in your lease. Often it’s non-specific or vague. But going forward we’re pushing back to obtain a more specific definition of what those services include (like janitorial and HVAC).
2) The Interruptions Clause
The “Interruptions” clause is also a biggie. If services are interrupted and therefore not provided to the tenant, it’s important for the tenant to know what kind of reimbursement they receive and a clear report of when services were interrupted (think utility service being stopped because employees are being forced to work from home and landlords stopping air conditioning and electrical services). An interruption like what we experienced during the quarantine was out of everyone’s control, but there is an amount that landlords saved during that time that can be negotiated.
Currently, in most leases, the interruptions clause simply states that landlords don’t have to give any abatement of any kind. We’re fighting now for our clients to see language protecting them as the tenant to include savings for services not rendered (for whatever reason) be reimbursed to the tenant via reduction to their additional rent. The tenant’s rights to audit their additional rent will also become even more common going forward and something you should consider inquiring about.
3) The Long View
We are telling clients not to make emotional decisions in this highly emotional time. We are encouraging businesses to make long-term decisions with as much data as possible instead of reacting to a chaotic snap-shot of the last 2-3 months.
That’s why we developed a workplace assessment that helps gather the crucial data needed for our clients to make the best, long-term decisions possible for their budget, culture, and for their team’s safety and productivity.
Reach out to us for more information on the Workplace Assessment or to talk through steps to renegotiate or review your lease to best suit your needs in getting back to the office.
In collaboration with Leigh Braswell, Leasing Director, Transcend.