Are your tax pass-throughs correct?

Are your tax pass-throughs correct?

 

Real estate taxes are one of the most common elements of operating expenses that the landlord passes on to tenants. However, did you know that you could be paying much more than your actual share of real estate taxes for the premises you leased? In our blog this week, we talk about four kinds of mistakes your landlord could be making as a result of which you may be ending up paying more than what you owe. 

Tax Refunds

When the landlord levies property taxes on tenants as per their pro-rata share, they should also credit any tax refunds received to the tenants’ accounts accordingly. However, sometimes, landlords may fail to credit the tax refunds or make errors in refund pro-rata calculations that tenants need to watch out for. 

Not pursuing tax certioraris

The landlord must assess the taxes levied upon them every year to ensure they are in accordance with the local real estate laws. Tax certiorari allows landlords to challenge the real estate tax amount levied upon them. However, many landlords may overlook this step as they know their tenants will share the tax load anyway as per the lease agreements. 

Including personal taxes

Landlords may erroneously include their personal taxes such as the tax on personal property or tax on income from a rental property in the real estate tax calculations for the leased premises, thus passing it on to their tenants. 

Tax professional’s fees

Your landlord may incorrectly bill you for the expenses they incur when they hire a tax professional to work out their real estate taxes. While, as a tenant, you may be obligated to pay your share of the real estate tax as stipulated in your lease, the clause most likely won’t cover tax professional’s fees, which means, sharing the fee as a part of the tax pass-throughs would be incorrect. 

Tax pass-throughs are just one of the many items in operating expenses that need to be audited by tenants to ensure they are not being overcharged. A lease audit that covers all elements of CAM charges and operating expenses is a must on an annual basis to ensure you, as a tenant, don’t pay more than what’s due.

Rebolease.com, powered by RE BackOffice, Inc., is a premier provider of lease abstraction, administration, audit, and accounting services. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, we are a global boutique firm, providing high-quality services to top-tier clients across industry verticals, covering every type of lease and on any lease platform. We are proud to be a trusted partner, for 15+ years, to leading retailers, REITs, property owners/managers, and corporate accounts seeking strategic advantage. All client projects are performed in-house. Please contact us today to learn more.  

RE BackOffice Celebrates 15 years of Excellence as a Global, Comprehensive & Trusted Commercial Real Estate Service Provider

The company has also launched a new website, www.rebolease.com dedicated in entirety to its lease abstraction, administration and accounting services

23rd March 2021: Pittsburgh, PA: Leading commercial real estate services provider, RE BackOffice, celebrates 15 years in business this year. The Pittsburgh-based company was founded in 2006, with a mission to deliver exceptional real estate marketing and lease services at affordable prices. Over the years, RE BackOffice has grown from a 20-member firm to an organization with 250+ professionals who are committed to providing the highest quality real estate marketing, lease abstraction, administration, and accounting services. 

RE BackOffice is renowned for being a boutique firm, engaged in consistently driving value, delivering first-class results, and exceeding client expectations. As a global, comprehensive, and trusted commercial real estate services provider, RE BackOffice serves top-tier clients across various industry verticals including retail, corporate, tower, healthcare, REITs, property owners, managers, etc. Over the years, RE BackOffice’s client base has grown exponentially. 7-Eleven, Sleepys, Crown Castle, CBRE, H&M, and JLL are a few of the many leading brands served by RE BackOffice. 

We are proud to complete 15 years in business and to be internationally recognized as the industry leader in commercial real estate services. The unmatched quality of our services, backed by our sound processes, industry knowledge, tech expertise, agility to adapt to the industry’s needs, and energetic work culture has been our core strength throughout the years. We are thrilled to have reached the 15-year milestone and are looking forward to an even more exciting decade ahead”, says Manu Varghese, VP, Operations. 

“15 years is a landmark anniversary! On this occasion, I would like to extend my thanks to our clients for placing their trust in RE BackOffice. I would also like to express my gratitude to our team for their dedication to helping REBO attain our goals as an organization. I’m looking forward to many more years of adding value to our clients.”, says Lyselle D’Souza, VP of Marketing Services. 

“As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, I want to recognize and share my appreciation for the commitment, talent, and spirit of our unique team who make this remarkable journey possible.  In addition, the entire RE BackOffice team wants each one of our clients to know that we are sincerely grateful for the continued trust you place in us. Trust, accuracy, reliability, and exceptional customer service are and will continue to be the cornerstones of our success.  We look forward to building on this solid foundation in the years to come, serving our customers large and small, across all industries.”, says Holly Khera, CEO, RE BackOffice. 

On this milestone anniversary, RE BackOffice has also launched a new website, www.rebolease.com, that focuses on RE BackOffice’s lease abstraction, administration, and accounting services business. The new website is easy to navigate and has dedicated pages for each lease service it offers and for the major industry verticals that the company serves. Please visit www.rebolease.com for more information.

Building a solid foundation for your lease portfolio management process

 

Your lease portfolio management process has many moving parts. While it is complicated, it is also one of the most important business processes. In our blog this week, we discuss a few items that form the foundation of your lease portfolio management process.

Lease abstracts

Your lease abstracts are of course the most important aspect of your lease portfolio. Saying that leases contain a lot of information is an understatement. Lease abstracts summarize the key financial and non-financial terms of your leases so you have easy access to actionable data. So, the first thing to do, when solidifying your lease portfolio management process is to ensure you have accurate abstracts of all the leases in your portfolio.

Lease audits 

If you already have lease abstracts, the next step is to audit them all. A lease audit involves verifying the information in your lease abstracts against the original lease documents to ensure that the abstracts are accurate. A lease audit helps you identify any discrepancies and ensures your abstracts are up-to-date and no critical information or updates in the form of amendments or addendums are missed out.

Lease abstract templates

Sometimes, you may already have lease abstracts that are accurate and up-to-date, but they may fail to capture some critical information. Hence, as a part of your lease portfolio management process audit it makes sense to look at your existing lease abstract template to determine if you are capturing the right information. While some core fields such as rent, options, key dates, etc., are needed irrespective of what industry you belong to, there may be fields that are important for your business or industry in particular. Apart from such fields, there may be certain, less common clauses in some leases that must be captured. So, you need to identify what data matters to you and ensure that your lease abstract template caters to your needs by capturing that information. Our blog post, Is your lease abstraction set up accurate, offers more information on this. 

Ongoing lease administration

Once your lease abstracts are accurate, concise, up-to-date, and reflect all the information you require, the next step is to engage in ongoing lease administration. This helps in maintaining your ROI on the lease by ensuring that you don’t miss any critical timeline or lose out on any opportunity pertaining to your lease. Learn more about why you shouldn’t skip ongoing lease administration in this blog.

 

Rebolease.com, powered by RE BackOffice, Inc., is a premier provider of lease abstraction, administration, and accounting services. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, we are a global boutique firm, providing high-quality services to top-tier clients across industry verticals, covering every type of lease and on any lease platform. We are proud to be a trusted partner, for 15+ years, to leading retailers, REITs, property owners/managers, and corporate accounts seeking strategic advantage. All client projects are performed in-house. Please contact us today to learn more.

Is your rent really supposed to be that high?

 

Leasing is a key financial decision, so it is fair to assume that tenants analyze the viability of the decision to enter into a lease, thoroughly. However, once the lease is signed and the rented premises are occupied and operational, many tenants are taken by surprise as they find their rental costs ending up being significantly more than what was expected. This blog post discusses the possible reasons for such discrepancies. 

One of the first things to check is if your base rent calculations are accurate. If there are errors in your base rent calculations, they can get embedded in your rent roll, pushing your rent higher year-after-year, inaccurately. Some areas to check in this regard are-

Square footage calculations

 Leased space or square footage plays an important role because it forms the base for most of the charges levied upon the tenant. Even a few square feet here and there can make a huge difference when base rent, CAM charges, and other operating expenses are calculated on a per-square-foot basis. Learn more in this blog post. 

CPI calculations

If your rent rises are linked to the CPI, then you need to ensure the CPI calculations made for your lease are accurate. You need to be aware of the CPI adjustments and apply them correctly to your rent roll. 

Rent commencement date, pro-rata rent, and term calculations

Another area to scrutinize is the rent commencement date. A lot of hinges upon your rent commencement date, including calculations related to your lease tenure. If your rent commencement dates are incorrect, or the terms and pro-rated rent are calculated wrong, you may be paying more than what you actually owe. 

You can avoid unpleasant surprises related to your rent amounts by deploying the services of an experienced lease administration firm that helps you stay on top of your lease portfolio management. Regular lease audits and lease administration services go a long way in identifying errors in your rent roll and helping you save significantly on rent.  

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing scalable, affordable and accurate lease abstraction, comprehensive lease administration and accounting services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more. 

Why entrust your lease audits to experts?

 

With organizations looking to cut additional costs and curtail seemingly unwanted operating expenses, lease audit is gaining a lot of popularity as a tool that helps them accomplish this goal from the real estate perspective. In our blog this week we discuss why you should entrust the task of auditing your lease expenses to experts.

Lease audits involve a thorough perusal of the invoices raised by your Landlord in light of your lease agreement to determine if you actually owe those charges and if yes, then to ensure the amount you are being invoiced for is accurate. You will be essentially challenging your Landlord based on the information from the lease audit. Hence it is important that your lease audit is thorough and accurate. Any claims made in the lease audit also needs to be backed up with strong evidence supporting the claim. Without that, even legitimate claims may not be honored by your Landlord. 

Secondly, when you reach out to your Landlord with the findings of your lease audit, you need to be tactful and also be able to negotiate effectively. The Landlord also needs to be able to trust your lease audit firm in the sense that they will keep any information regarding a settlement confidential. Landlords may hesitate to agree with lease audit findings if they fear that the audit firm may then reach out to other tenants of the Landlord in the premises offering a lease audit service. Outsourcing your lease audits to a reputed and trusted vendor who offers lease audit services will go a long way in ensuring your lease audits and consequent negotiations happen smoothly. 

A poorly done lease audit can cost you your relationship with your Landlord. A trusted lease audit firm can help maintain your relationship with your Landlord better. Using the services of a professional lease auditor enhances your chances of getting your claims honored.

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing scalable, affordable and accurate lease abstraction, end-to-end lease administration, lease audit and accounting services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more. 

How well do you know your rent roll?

 

Rent rolls are one of the most important aspects of your lease. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say the rent roll is a key financial data point of your lease and forms the crux of your lease contract. But, how well do you know your rent roll? Understanding your rent structure clearly is very important as it can help you negotiate renewals better, save significant amount of money by identifying inaccuracies in rent calculations and also help you drive better real estate-related business decisions. Our blog this week discusses the key aspects of the rent roll that you should be aware of. 

What is your rent structure?

All tenants know their rent structures, no doubt, but what about the details? You should be aware of escalation clauses in your lease. What is your rent escalation tied to? Is it a direct, simple escalation by a predetermined amount or percentage, is it pegged to an economic indicator like the CPI, or is it based on your revenue, such as a percentage of your sales (most common in retail leases)? Understanding the rent escalation clause helps you analyze the feasibility of your lease.

What constitutes your Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges?

If your lease is a net lease, then CAM charges will definitely be a core component of your rent roll. The thing about CAM charges is that it includes multiple headers and complicated calculations, which leave room for errors and even interpretation. You need to be aware of the various components of your CAM charges and how they are computed for you as per your lease. For example, what happens if you moved into a fairly empty building that’s only gradually filling up? How is the CAM divided among the existing tenants including you, until the time there’s 100% occupancy? What will be the repercussions on your CAM charges as new tenants are signed up.

When it comes to rent-roll calculations, the onus is always on the tenant to identify errors, if any, and report them to the landlord. So, it is essential that as a tenant, you pay keen attention to the core rent roll components such as rent escalation calculations and CAM charges allocation. Overlooking any errors in these calculations will cause them to become a part of the base calculations for the next lease year and as a tenant, this can cost you a lot. Plus, most leases place a timeframe within which such discrepancies should be reported to the landlord. Failing to do so on time may be construed as acceptance by the tenant to make the payments. 

You can avoid such scenarios by having clear, concise and accurate abstracts of your leases that simplify complex lease terms for you without diluting their essence. Solid lease abstracts can help you understand your rent roll and related components clearly. Two other very important elements in this regard are regular lease audits and a thorough lease administration process that will help you identify the gaps and act at the right time. 

RE BackOffice is a strategic partner providing scalable, affordable and accurate lease abstraction, end-to-end lease administration, lease audit and accounting services to optimize your lease portfolio and related processes. Please contact us today to learn more.