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How to Negotiate Commercial Leases That Favor Tenants

Part 2: How to Make An Offer or Counter Offer to Lease Commercial Space


Preparing An Offer or Counter Offer Letter

Your counter offer should be presented from your business, not from you personally, even if you own a sole proprietorship. Your offer letter is a sales pitch. You are asking for different terms that are more in your favor and you want the landlord to see you and your business as a good choice.

Your offer letter should always include the following information:

  • The Name of Your Business: This includes the name you are legally established under, as well as any other names you are doing business under.

  • Your Business Structure: If you are incorporated, tell where you are incorporated. If you are a tax-exempt organization state this in your letter. It is rare that landlords offer you freebies or perks to nonprofits just to get a tax write-off, but they may be more inclined to negotiate or lease to a noble cause than to a biker club.

  • How Long You Have Been in Business: If your business is less than two years old, you may wish to also include a statement about your success, or future growth projections. A landlord is not likely to rent to your business, without someone personally guaranteeing the lease, if you cannot show that your business is doing well.

  • The Nature of Your Business: What do you do? Be brief and to the point. A landlord needs to know what you do in case there are any special considerations. For example, if you run a business that uses hazardous materials, has walk-in patients to a health facility, or stores items of excessive value, the landlord needs to know in case there are restrictions on the use of the property. What tenants do, can affect a landlord’s property values and insurance rates; so be honest.

  • Contact Information: Be sure to include a phone number where you can be reached, and if possible, and email address. If you can only be reached on certain days or during set hours, include this as well. If you do not respond to a landlord or listing agent in a timely manner, they may think you are not interested.

  • Your Proposed Terms (or, Counter Offer): Be as complete and clear as possible (see more information below, under “Listing Your Leasing Terms”).

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