Posted on February 29, 2012

stop your renewal Folks, I just have to say STOP! Don’t sign that renewal agreement without doing one simple thing – mystery shop your landlord. What’s mystery shopping? That’s when a customer goes into buy something but the store has no idea that the customer is actually testing them and will provide a full report back to HQ. I had this happen to me when I was on the dark side representing a landlord. The HQ hired a company who came in as a prospective tenant to not only shop our property but three of our competitors. Fascinating process (I passed with flying colors fortunately). But I digress,

What am I talking about and why should you do this? If you are negotiating your renewal without using a tenant rep broker (like me) to help you, you need information so your decision is informed. So pick up a phone or better yet have your assistant call from her cell phone (so caller ID doesn’t ruin this plan) and call your landlord as a prospective tenant. Ask what are the rental rates for a space about your size and what kind of improvements could you anticipate on a new lease. Now, how does your lease renewal terms compare? I bet you won’t be pleased by the answers, so pick up the phone and call me to rant about this.

Over the past three years I have seen a very disturbing trend with landlords. They are taking advantage of their existing tenants by offering them rental rates at or ABOVE the asking rent of the building. The asking rent is like the sticker price on the car – it’s only the beginning point of the negotiations. Times have been tough for everyone – including landlords, but landlords know that it is far more expensive to get a new tenant than to keep an existing one. So with that in mind, you should automatically get a better rental rate than a new tenant because the landlord is not spending as much money and the income stream of rent is uninterrupted.

If you try my suggested mystery shopping tip and your landlord failed your test, call me at 917-750-9787, OR EMAIL ME AT STEVE@GONJREALESTATE.COM, I have straightened out many a landlord and improved lease terms for many a renewing tenant.


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