Why Lease Enhancement is Important in Commercial Real Estate in Brisbane

shopping mall and retail shops

Investors in Brisbane today have a wide variety of options when it comes to leases and how they will serve the property in an investment sense.  Importantly the lease that an investor uses should be drafted by a solicitor of sound commercial property experience.  Brisbane is a thriving and growing capital city on the eastern seaboard of Australia.  Investments in property are a good thing.

It should be said that a lease of commercial or retail property is not just about the rent; it’s about occupancy, security, investment, improvement, and stability.  When you have a tenant, then the lease takes over in the control sense to cover off on these issues.

brisbane buildings on river
Brisbane Real Estate is very active

Nothing is more troubling than a lease that has been drafted by someone with little local property knowledge and experience.  The reality is a lease should be structured for the property, for the future, and for the location.  Not all properties are the same and on that basis, no lease should be the same.  Not all investors are the same from an investment perspective.  This is where the variables of property use and occupancy become important, and the lease then takes over in the control sense.

A good property solicitor that is acting for a property investor should take into account not just the priorities of the client, but also the elements of the property that need special attention and control over time.  From that point, they can structure a lease that really targets the issues for the property owner.

Things to Look at When Purchasing a Retail Shopping Centre

When purchasing retail shopping centres or malls, the type of centre needs to be noted as well as its location, size in the lettable area, state and condition of the property, and types of shops, number of car parks and other features such as services and amenities that would attract customers.   The property has to be relevant and friendly to the community.   The property has to attract visitors and frequent shoppers.  Look at any retail property from that perspective before you look at the rental income and the tenant mix.

Demographic factors should also be explored in the case of every retail property.  For example, how is the population distributed about the centre?  What are the growth rates and the spending power of the targeted community?  Are there any roads and highways that can direct or restrict traffic about the property?

retail shopping mall escalator

Records of turnover are invaluable in assessing past property performances, and the number of customers through the centre.  A good retail property will have leases that support the supply of turnover figures to the landlord on a confidential basis. While the tenants may have a sensitivity to doing that; it is the only ways a landlord or property manager can assess property customer visits, and just who are the successful tenants.

Shoppers to a shopping centre will shop on particular days, and that will create peaks in trade.  Have a look at other shopping centres nearby to see how they compare to the property you may have under consideration.  Be mindful of the other impact of seasonal sales and holidays on retail trade.

Know the Property Comprehensively

The turnover in a retail property can be centred on a particular type of tenant, for example, fast food and fashion.  Weaknesses in turnover can then be seen when turnover figures are categorised.  If the tenant is not a high performer in the property, then it is best to consider a change rather than let a shop location loose customer interest.  It is for this reason that a lot of landlords in larger properties will not give options when leasing premises to new tenants.  In that way, they can preserve their choices in the tenant mix.

In this market, the levels of income in the property together with the outgoings have to be well managed.  Rate of growth in outgoings and the rate of growth in rental income should also be noted.  Read the leases to get to the bottom of what has happened over recent years.  See what the leases say regards rent reviews coming up and how they can be handled.  So there is a full review process here to implement when looking at a retail shopping centre as an investment.  Are you ready for the challenge of the investment?

What to Look For in Commercial and Retail Leases

shopping centre mall foyer

Property owners that lease commercial property to tenants should keep a close eye on the terms and conditions of their leases.  It is all too common that a critical date or situation is overlooked in a lease and the landlord or property manager has to chase down and remedy the matter. 

The key secret to keeping a commercial property on track is in understanding the leases and thoroughly actioning any date critical terms and conditions.

city building high rise
Look at Your Investment Property Comprehensively

There are many things to look for but here are some of the main ones to monitor:

  1. Rent review dates
  2. Option to renew dates
  3. Lease expiry dates
  4. Renovation date requirements
  5. Insurance certificate of currency evidence
  6. Charges for outgoings
  7. Reconciliation of outgoings
  8. Payments of sundry charges under the lease
  9. Rent payment provisions
  10. Turnover reporting to the landlord
  11. First right of refusal provisions

The list can go on, but importantly the critical dates in a lease are handled and controlled.  In this way the property can be optimised for the landlord and the tenant.

When it comes to marketing and selling your property, the time you spend on tracking and checking critical dates is invaluable in the long term.

Contact Systems for Commercial Real Estate Tenants

tops of city buildings

When you own a commercial or retail property, it pays to keep in close contact with your tenants.  They are a key part of the property performance and should be nurtured to stabilise income from the property.

As part of keeping in contact with the tenants in your property, you can create a tenant contact plan that formalises the meeting and any feedback that may happen as a direct result.  Many larger landlords in high performing properties will create and hold tenant contact meetings with all tenants at least every 90 days.  In retail property this cycle is shorter given that a retail property is a very active type of property investment.

So just what can and should you talk to your tenants about?  Try this list:

  • Need to expand premises
  • Need to contract premises
  • Maintenance needs in the property
  • Interaction with other tenants in the same building
  • Exercise of lease option
  • Use of the building
  • End of lease issues
  • Renovation or refurbishment plans
  • Insurance
  • Terms and conditions of their lease and compliance to that

It is interesting to note that good tenants are constantly being networked by other property owners and real estate agents in your local area.  All the more reason to keep in contact with your own tenants to make sure they are happy in occupancy.

Why Commercial Property Leases are So Important in Investment Performance

When you own commercial property or retail property, the leases that reflect the tenancy mix are the foundation of the cash flow.  Then when it comes to selling that property it is the leases that will drive buyer interest and ultimately assist in getting a better price for the property. 

A property with a good lease profile will create property investor interest; it’s that simple.  It then stands to reason that the lease negotiations that occur in your property should be carefully planned and optimised with the ‘end result’ in mind.  You never know when you want to sell or refinance your property.  The leases will be the attraction to support your processes and needs.

It can also be said that not all tenants are equal when it comes to investment performance. Ultimately you would want a mix of tenants that are not too ‘volatile’ in the daily events and operations of the property.

So, What Are Your Investment Systems?

So what can you do here as a property investor?  Take a look at all your leases and the broader tenant mix.  If you own a shopping centre or a large office tower with many tenants, think about creating a list of tenants and splitting them up into priorities and retention groups. It stands to reason that you may want to keep some of your tenants more than others. What can you do to negotiate leases with your ‘desireable tenants?’ Try a tenant retention plan for starters. That strategy should feature in your investment or property business plan. Understand the deals that you are prepared to do with your better tenants. That will include incentives, rents, and lease terms.

Set some rules and standards about these things below and then see a good solicitor to help you with the lease creation:

  • Rentals
  • Rent review timings and standards
  • Option terms
  • Make good provisions
  • Lease terms and conditions
  • Ideal tenant type and operations

When you make every lease count, the property starts to take on a whole new level of performance.