A lawyer’s advice on helping small tenants with their lease negotiations

I was bored yesterday afternoon and found myself searching for resources to share on this blog.  Happily, I stumbled upon Key Drivers for Negotiating a Commercial Lease for the Small Tenant, a checklist of instructive guidance from Kathleen Hopkins, a founding member of Seattle firm Real Property Law Group, PLLC, who herself derived the list from an ABA Probate & Property journal article.  By dividing the three areas of advice into “top line”, bottom line, and exit strategy lease terms, this checklist provides attorneys and real estate advisors alike with enough guidance to successfully represent the best interests of their client, the commercial tenant.

But there is one thing I found lacking in the article.  It seems to put the burdens of negotiation squarely on the shoulders of the attorney.  Of course, the article was written for an ABA journal, directed at an audience of attorneys.  However, I was still surprised to find no mention of tenant representative brokers.  From my experience, I have found that attorneys do a wonderful job of protecting tenants through lease negotiation, but often lack the market knowledge of a good broker to ensure that all of the terms are equitable for their client relative to market dynamics.  By strategically pairing the transaction advisor and the real estate attorney, tenants can ensure that they are getting the best terms the market has to offer and guaranteeing themselves as much protection as possible within the four corners of their lease.