2024 New Year’s Resolution for Office Tenants

10 January, 2024 / Alan Rosinsky
Winter scene at Union Square - a hub for commercial real estate resolutions in the heart of NYC.

We’re just over a week into the new year, and it’s high time to transform our resolutions from thoughts into action. For many of us, the start of a new year sparks ambitions of personal growth, like shedding a few pounds or boosting our income. But, if you’re a commercial office tenant in New York City, there’s an equally important resolution: reevaluating and enhancing your leasing strategy. In this article, we’ll explore some New Year’s resolutions for you as a commercial office tenant. Our hope is after reading this, you’ll find ways to maximize your potential, maintain flexibility, and strengthen relationships.

Know Your Lease Expiry Date

Knowing when your lease expires is a key piece of the puzzle for any tenant. Think of it as your business’s countdown clock, giving you the power to plan effectively. Whether you’re eyeing a lease renewal or contemplating a move, this awareness is your strategic advantage. By planning well in advance, you position yourself to be in tune with the ebb and flow of the market. Staying updated on what’s available and how much it costs means you’re never surprised. This foresight enables you to make choices that align perfectly with your company’s evolving needs, ensuring you’re always a step ahead.

Track Real Estate Tax Increases and Manage Your Liabilities

Dealing with commercial real estate taxes is a balancing act, especially if you’re in it for the long haul with a lease over five years. These taxes aren’t just line items in your budget; they’re major players that can sway your expenses. It’s like watching the weather – you need to know if a storm’s brewing or if it’s smooth sailing ahead. Watching how these taxes change in your building helps you plan better. Are they steady as a rock, climbing up, or maybe taking a welcome dip? Figuring out these patterns is like having a secret roadmap for your finances. It empowers you to brace for what’s coming, ensuring that your business stays financially fit and your budget stays on track.

Confirm Your Lease Expiration Date: Don’t Get Stuck With a Pricey Holdover Clause

It’s quite astonishing but true: many business owners are so caught up in the daily grind that they lose track of when their commercial office space lease is due to expire. This oversight can lead to a sticky situation where they find themselves unwittingly overstaying, facing hefty holdover clause penalties that could be double or triple their regular rent. To avoid this costly trap, do yourself a favor:

  • Take a moment to check your lease.
  • Note down the expiration date.
  • Start the renegotiation process with your landlord or explore alternative spaces 6 to 12 months in advance.

Staying on top of things can save you from the unwelcome surprise of a 2x or 3x rent spike, keeping your business smoothly sailing without unnecessary financial hiccups.

Assess Your Space Utilization

Take a moment to consider your current office space – is it working for your company today? A layout that was efficient in 2020 may not work for your business in 2024. Does your space still tick all the boxes, or is it time for a change? Maybe you need less room, more room, or just a different layout. Think about how many people are in the office, how often they’re working remotely, and where you see your business going in the future. All the pieces of your office puzzle, from staff size to growth plans, must fit together to create a picture that reflects your business goals.

Build Relationships

Cultivating a solid relationship with your landlord, their leasing agent, or the building manager is more than just good manners – it’s a savvy business strategy that pays off for both parties. Imagine it as a partnership where everyone benefits. How do you build this kind of relationship? Start with the basics: ensure your rent is always on time, perhaps by setting up automatic payments from your bank account. Stick to the terms of your lease religiously – the little things count, like respecting your neighbors, adhering to trash disposal schedules, and keeping your space well-maintained. When you have a strong rapport with your landlord, you open up a channel for easier problem resolution, the possibility of more favorable lease terms, and those small but significant perks that can enhance your business environment. It’s about creating a mutually beneficial relationship that makes your professional life smoother and more productive.

Learn About Relocation Options

The commercial real estate environment has transformed significantly since you last inked a lease agreement. Today, building owners are upping their game, offering a host of amenities and, interestingly, at increasingly competitive prices. So, ensure you’re not overpaying and providing the best possible environment for your team. A smart move? Reach out to a commercial realtor. Inquire about what’s out there in terms of alternative spaces and their rates. Realtors, always eager to forge new client relationships, will provide valuable insights. Whether renegotiating your existing lease or relocating, this knowledge equips you with the necessary leverage. At the very least, it gives you a more substantial hand in discussions with your current landlord, ensuring you make the most informed decisions.

Lease Audit and Negotiation

Regularly revisiting your lease is much more than a tick-box exercise; it’s a vital step in ensuring your workspace keeps pace with your business. Think of it as a regular health check for your lease agreement. As your business evolves – whether in size, focus, or strategy – your initial lease terms may no longer suffice. It’s not always possible to renegotiate mid-lease, but a thorough review can highlight areas needing adjustment. Perhaps it’s time to transfer your lease to a new entity, or you’re considering selling your company. Maybe your business has grown from its startup roots, and it’s time to discuss a reduced security deposit with your landlord. As businesses grow and change, so too do their real estate requirements. 

Review Your Costs

Keeping a close watch on the costs associated with your office space is vital for your business’s financial health. Take base rent, for example. What if it is no longer competitive with nearby similar buildings that may offer more in amenities? Then there are real estate taxes. You’ll want to assess the impact of your share over the base year to understand your overall real estate expenses. Moreover, costs not paid to your landlord can still affect your bottom line. Costs like commercial liability insurance, HVAC service contracts, and internet and phone expenses. Hence, the challenge lies in striking the right balance. A balance between economizing without compromising the quality of your workspace or your team’s productivity.

Maintain Goodwill

Finally, if the holiday rush swept you past the opportunity to tip the building staff, remember it’s still possible to show your appreciation. Think about how much smoother your day as an office tenant runs thanks to the folks who manage the freight elevators, handle your package deliveries, and keep everything ticking in the background. They’re the unsung heroes in the day-to-day rhythm of your business. A small gesture of gratitude can go a long way in nurturing a positive relationship with these essential team members. Not only does it bring a more pleasant and cooperative atmosphere to your daily work environment, but it also contributes to the seamless operation of your business activities.

Key Takeaways for Office Tenants

The dawn of 2024 opens up a world of possibilities for commercial office tenants. Now’s the time to dive deep and re-evaluate your commercial lease. It’s about getting a grip on those office lease timelines, staying sharp on financial liabilities, and keeping up with legal intricacies. Is your office space ticking all the right boxes for efficiency and satisfaction? Moreover, how strong are your relationships with everyone from the landlord to the building staff? Each piece of this puzzle helps shape your workspace into something more than an office but a driver of success and harmony. Therefore, the time is now to embrace this and kick off a year where your business doesn’t just grow – it flourishes.


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