By Steve Bergsman
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Over the past couple of years Simons Johnson, SIOR, CCIM, MCR, a principal in the Charleston, S.C., office of Colliers International, has been working on
a number of subleases. Like a good broker, Johnson kept in
contact with his clients over the years and it was obvious the
issue of sublease was going to come up.
“One of the key lessons I learned with the subleasing process
was the amount of time that we spent prior to signing the
lease,” says Johnson. “The time invested in understanding
how we could demise the space and what potential cost
was a major benefit to the planning process, was more than
When asked what else could be done to make the task easier,
Johnson makes a number of suggestions: make sure your client
is flexible in regard to pricing; that you work with not just the
real estate guys at the tenant company but the accounting and
finance people as well; and that everyone understands the
sublease won’t be a profit center, that speed to get a sub-tenant
is more important than a targeted sublease rate.
Subleasing is always a small part of any lease market and
mostly happens because the tenant company is struggling
financially, but it could just as well make sense for a company
that is doing fabulously well to need more space and want to
exit from a lease.
Although most leases now have a sublease clause, landlords
can be a help or a hindrance to a sublease depending on how
well the clause is written to give flexibility to the tenant. So,
it’s always good to get things right at the start, when the lease
is drawn up.